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Know what them canst work at and work at it like a Hercules." 



G. P. Putnam's Sons 
New York and London 
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THE aim of this book is to suggest to amateurs of all ages 
many things which they can profitably make of wood, 
and to start them in the way to work successfully. It is 
hoped that, in the case of boys, it may show them pleasant 
and useful ways to work off some of their surplus energy, 
and at the same time contribute toward their harmonious 
all-round development. 

It is not an attempt to teach the arts of architecture, 
carpentry, cabinet-making, or boat-building. Although not 
intended primarily to impart skill in the use of tools (some- 
thing which can only be acquired from experience and ob- 
servation and cannot be taught by any book), still no one 
can go through the processes indicated without gaining at 
least some slight degree of manual skill as well as a fund of 
practical information and experience. 

Many books which give directions for mechanical work 
(particularly those addressed to boys) have several serious 
faults, and can be grouped in three classes. Some seem to 
be written by practical workmen, who, however well fitted 
to do the work themselves, lack the pedagogical training or 
the psychological insight necessary to lay out such work 
with due regard to the mental and physical capacity, ex- 
perience, and development of youth, or to the amateur's 
lack of experience in the rudiments of the subject. Others 
are written by teachers or amateurs who lack the trained 
mechanic's practical and varied knowledge and experience 
in serious work. Others (and this last class is, perhaps, the 
worst of the three) seem to be made by compilers who have 
apparently been satisfied to sweep together, without requisite 

vi Preface 

knowledge or sufficient moral purpose, whatever they may 
have found that would be interesting or attractive, without 
due regard to its real value. All these writers are constantly 
falling into errors and making omissions harmful alike to the 
moral and the manual progress of the readers. 1 

Effort has been made in the preparation of this book to 
avoid these evils, to keep in line with the advanced educa- 
tional ideas of the time, and to look at the subject from the 
standpoints of the teacher, the mechanic, the boy, and the 
amateur workman. The treatment is neither general nor 
superficial, but elementary, and no claim is made that it will 
carry anyone very far in the various subjects ; but it aims 
to be thorough and specific as far as it goes and to teach 
nothing which will have to be unlearned. 

Great care (based upon an extended experience with boys 
and amateurs) has been taken to include only what can be 
profitably done by an intelligent boy of from ten to eighteen 
or by the average untrained worker of more mature years. 
It is hoped that from the variety of subjects treated he may 
find much of the information for which he may seek if not 
in the exact form desired, perhaps in some typical form or 
something sufficiently similar to suggest to him what he 
needs to know. 

It is hoped and confidently believed that a work so com- 
prehensive in scope and giving such a variety of designs, 
with detailed and practical directions for their execution, 
will be not merely novel, but may serve as a vade-mecum and 
ready-reference book for the amateur of constructive tastes. 


BOSTON, June, 1899. 

1 These criticisms are meant to apply to the class of manuals, compendium^, 
and so-called " Boys' Books" and "Amateurs' Books," in the popular sense of 
the word, and not to the many admirable works on sloyd, manual training, and 
the various special branches of wood-working. 





II TOOLS ......... 9 

III WOOD ......... 29 



V THE WORKSHOP ....... 56 


VI INTRODUCTORY ....... 103 

VII A FEW TOYS ....... 106 



X FURNITURE . . . . . . . 175 






viii Contents 






INDEX 539 


IT has seemed best to address parts of this book particu- 
larly to boys, because the majority of beginners are 
boys, because boys need more suggestions than men, and 
because a man can easily pick what he needs from a talk to 
boys (and perhaps be interested also), while it is usually un- 
profitable to expect a boy to take hold of a technical subject 
in the right spirit if it is treated in a style much in advance 
of his degree of maturity. It is hoped, however, that the 
older reader also will find enough of those fundamental 
principles of successful work (many of which do not readily 
occur to the untrained amateur except as the result of much 
costly experience) to be a material help to him. 


" It is not strength, but art obtains the prize, 
And to be swift is less than to be wise ; 
'T is more by art, than force of numerous strokes." 

HOMER, Iliad. 






WHEN one has made up his mind to make something, 
he usually wants to begin work at once; so, as I 
wish you to read this chapter, I will make it quite short. 
There is a great deal in getting started right, and there are 
some things to bear in mind if you wish to do good work, 
as of course you do. 

One thing is not to be in too much of a hurry to begin 
the actual sawing and pounding. The old Latin phrase, 
" Festina lente " (make haste slowly), is a capital motto for 
the beginner. Do not wait until your enthusiasm has oozed 
away, of course, but do stop long enough to think how you 
are going to make a thing before you begin to saw. 

The workman who thinks first and acts afterwards is the 
one who usually turns out good work, while the one who 
begins to work without any reflection (as boys, and even 

2 Wood-Working for Beginners 

men, have been known to do) is apt to spend much of his 
time in undoing his work, and usually des not get through 
till after the one who laid it out properly in the first place. 1 

If Homer, in the quotation at the head of this chapter, 
had been writing about the way boys' work is sometimes 
done, he might, perhaps, have reversed the positions of some 
of the words and made " swiftness " and " numerous 
strokes " the subjects of his emphasis. He has expressed 
well enough, however, the way that your work should be 
done, and it is one aim of this book to give you useful hints 
to that end. 

Do not spend your time in working out a lot of set exer- 
cises, like joints and odd pieces that do not belong to any- 

1 An old gentleman whose help, on account of his accurate workmanship, I 
once frequently obtained when " rushed," was an extreme example of this sys- 
tematic way of doing work. I would give him perhaps three hours' work, 
which he would agree to have done at the end' of that time. Looking in after 
an hour or so I would find the work apparently untouched, which was a little 
provoking, of course, as the average workman would have had it perhaps one 
third done. But instead, this old gentleman would be apparently only " put- 
tering around," touching up his saws, fixing his planes, whetting his chisels, 
looking over the wood, and not getting ahead a bit. Going off in disgust 
(until I got acquainted with his ways, I mean), I would return at the end of the 
three hours, to find that the work had been ready some time and done to per- 
fection. While he was at first apparently accomplishing nothing he was really 
getting everything in perfect shape to do the work and laying out in his mind 
every detail of the whole process, so that when he began the actual work it 
almost did itself, and he forged right ahead of the average workman, who 
would either have been behind time or slighted the work in order to get it 
done, and in most cases have made some mistake to be corrected in some part 
of the process. I never knew that man to make a mistake. Why ? Not be- 
cause his ability was extraordinary, but because he concentrated his mind on 
the work and thought it out clear through before he began. Now I know the 
average boy too well to expect him to have the patience to do just as this 
workman did. It would be unreasonable. But it is the true way to do good 
work, so try to think it all out as far as you can and to get ready before you 
begin. The work will go ever so much more quickly and easily. 

Introductory 3 

thing in particular, merely for practice. You will be much 
more apt to put the right spirit into your work when you 
make complete and useful articles, and you will get the 
same practice and experience in the end. There is no 
need, however, to go through a deal of toilsome experience 
just to learn a number of simple little things that you might 
just as well be told in the first place. Begin the process of 
learning by experience after you have learned what you can 
from the experience of others. Begin, so far as you can, 
where others have left off. 

Before you begin work it may be interesting to look for 
a moment at the way boys did their work from fifty to one 
hundred years ago. Have you read the books by Elijah 
Kellogg ? The reason for speaking of these old-fashioned 
books is because of the picture they give of the time, not 
so very long ago, when boys and their elders made all sorts 
of things which they buy to-day, and also because of the 
good idea they give of how boys got along generally when 
they had to shift more for themselves than they do nowa- 

The majority of the boys of that time, not merely on 
Casco Bay, where Mr. Kellogg places the scenes of his 
stories, but in hundreds of other places, had to make many 
things themselves or go without. Of course there was a 
smaller number in the cities and larger towns who had no 
good opportunity to make things and were obliged to buy 
what they could afford (out of what we should call a quite 
limited variety), or to get the carpenter or other mechanic 
to make what they needed. But the majority of the boys 
of that time made things well and had a good time making 
them. The life they led made them capital " all-round " 
boys. They could turn their hands, and their heads too, 
to almost any kind of work, and do it pretty well. 

4 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Boys did a good deal of whittling then. This habit, as 
you doubtless know, still clung to them after they grew up, 
and opening a jack-knife and beginning to whittle was a 
common diversion whenever the men rested, whether at the 
country-store or in the barn or dooryard or at their own 
firesides.- You can see the same habit to-day in some places. 
The boys whittled splint-brooms of birch in Colonial days 
in almost every household. 1 Among some of the minor 
articles made by boys and young men were axe-helves and 
handles of all sorts, wooden rakes, wooden troughs for bread 
and for pigs, trays, trenchers, flails, rounds for ladders, 
bobbins, reels, cheese-boxes, butter-spats or -paddles, 
wooden traps, and dozens of other articles, not to speak of 
their handiwork in other materials than wood. 

For that matter much of the same life can be found to- 
day in the remoter regions, and I have known young men 
brought up to this kind of life, who (within my recollection) 
have, as a matter of course, done all the farm work of good- 
sized cultivated farms with live stock, cut and hauled wood 
from their wood-lots, done a good deal of sea-fishing and 
salting down and drying of fish, tended and mended their 

1 " It has been said that the snow-shoe and canoe as made by the Indians 
could never be improved. To these might be added the split birch broom, or 
splinter broom, also the invention of the Indians, but made in every country 
household in New England in Colonial days. The branch of a large birch tree 
was cut eight feet long. An inch-wide band of the bark was left about eighteen 
inches from one end, and the shorter and lower end was cut in fine pliable 
slivers up to the restraining bark band. A row of slivers was cut from the 
upper end downward, turned down over the band, and tied firmly down. Then 
the remainder of the stick was smoothed into a handle. These brooms were 
pliable, cleanly, and enduring, and as broom-corn was not grown here until 
the latter part of the past century, they were, in fact, the only brooms of those 
days. They were made by boys on New England farms for six cents apiece, 
and bought by the country storekeepers in large numbers for the cities' use." 
The Chautauquan. 

Introductory 5 

fish-nets, weirs, and lobster-traps, and sailed or rowed 
twenty-five miles to market with their produce and back 
again with their supplies. They also built their sheds, 
barns, and houses, and part of their furniture, their dories, 
big scows, and capital sailboats; made their own oars and 
rigged their boats; made many of their farm tools and im- 
plements; built their waggons and " ironed " them, their 
ox-sleds and small sleds, and shod them; made some of 
their tools; did their own blacksmithing, mason-work, brick- 
laying, and painting; made their own shoes, and did I do 
not know how many other odd jobs all with but a limited 
supply of common hand-tools. This work did not interfere 
with their going to school through the winter months until 
they were twenty-one years old, and they still found time 
for the usual recreations of the period. 

Now a young man must have been pretty well developed 
after going through all that, even if he did not know much 
about Greek or calculus or was lacking in superficial polish. 
And it is only the truth to say that quite a number used to 
tackle the higher branches of study too, with success made 
all the more assured by their development in other ways, 
and many, in addition to all this, paid their way through 
college by teaching or other work. How did they do sc 
much ? Partly, I suppose, because their life was so much 
simpler and less complex than ours. They did not have so 
many wants and there were not so many interests to distract 
their minds. Partly because when they wanted something 
they knew they must make it or go without. They did 
not draw so much as we do now, but they did a great deal 
of observing. They examined things like what they were, 
to make and asked questions, and, knowing that where 
they had so much to do they could not afford to keep trying 
things again and again, they learned from their relatives 

6 Wood-Working for Beginners 

and neighbours what was considered the best way to do 
their work, and having thought it out carefully they went 
at it with great energy. 

To-day we have only to go to a large factory to see a 
man standing before some machine and doing some simple 
piece of work, requiring but little thought the same thing 
over and over again, hour after hour, day after day, year 
after year, until he seems to become almost a part of the 
machine itself, and is not fitted for doing much else. That 
is the other extreme. Of course we get things cheaper 
(even if they do not last so long) because of the factory ; 
but how about the workman ? Which of these two types 
is the better-developed man ? First you want to be well- 
developed all-round boys, so that you will not become 
machines or badly one-sided men. After that each to his 
special bent, of course. 

Now because we no longer cut down trees ourselves, haul 
them to the mill to be sawed, or rive or saw or hew them 
ourselves, leave the wood to season, and then laboriously 
work it up into whatever we have to make because we no 
longer do that, but go instead to a lumber-yard and a mill 
and have a large part of the work done for us it is a good 
thing for us to pause a moment before we begin our work 
to take in the fact that all the advantage is not with us 
now, and to think what a capital gymnasium that former life 
was for strengthening a boy's muscle and mind, not to 
speak of his morals. 

You could not go back to those days now if you wished 
to, of course (except, perhaps, when you go to some of the 
remoter regions in vacation), and you are doubtless better 
off for all the advantages you have now and for all our time- 
saving contrivances, but the advantage depends partly on 
how you use the time saved from their laborious tasks, does 

Introductory 7 

it not? You can, however, get inspiration from the example 
of those older boys and from some of their methods, and 
can put their self-reliant, manly zeal, grit, and perseverance 
into your work, and have a capital time making the things 
and more sport and satisfaction afterwards for having made 

This book does not try to show you a royal road or a 
short cut to proficiency in architecture, carpentry, cabinet- 
making, boat-building, toy-making, or any other art or 
science. It does not aim to cram you with facts, but 
merely to start you in the right way. It is for those of 
you who want to take off your coats, roll up your sleeves, 
and really make things, rather than sit down in the house 
and be amused and perhaps deluded by reading enthusiastic 
accounts of all the wonders you can easily do or which 
somebody thinks you would like to be told that you can 
do. It is for those of you who do not wish to have your 
ardour dampened by finding that things will not come out 
as the book said they would, or that the very things you 
do not know and cannot be expected to know are left out. 

It does not aim to stir up your enthusiasm at first and 
then perhaps leave you in the lurch at the most important 
points. I take it for granted that if you have any mechani- 
cal bent or interest in making things, as most boys have, and 
are any kind of a real live boy, you have the enthusiasm to 
start with without stirring up. In fact, I have even known 
boys, and possibly you may have, who, strange as it may 
seem, have had so much enthusiasm to make something or 
other that they have actually had to be held back lest they 
should spoil all the lumber within reach in the effort to get 
started ! 

What you want is to be told how to go to work in the 
right way how to make things successfully and like a work- 

8 Wood- Working for Beginners 

man is it not ? Then, if you mean business, as I feel sure 
you do, and really want to make things, read the whole 
book through carefully, even if it is not bristling with in- 
teresting yarns and paragraphs of no practical application to 
your work. You will not find everything in it, but you 
cannot help learning something, and I hope you will find 
that it attends strictly to the business in hand and will give 
you a start in the right direction, which is half the battle. 

" Man is a Tool-using Animal. ... He can use Tools, can devise Tools ; with these 
the granite mountain melts into light dust before him ; he kneads glowing iron as if it were 
soft paste ; seas are his smooth highway, winds and fire his unwearying steeds. Nowhere do 
you find him without Tools ; without Tools he is nothing with Tools he is all." CARLVLE, 
Sartor Resartus. 



YOU can do a great deal with very few tools. The bear- 
ing of this observation lies in " the application on it," 
as Jack Bunsby would say. 

Look at the complicated and ingenious curiosities whittled 
with a jack-knife by sailors, prisoners, and other people who 
have time to kill in that way ! Have you ever seen the 
Chinese artisans turning out their wonderful work with only 
a few of the most primitive tools ? But of course we can- 
not spend time so lavishly on our work as they do, even if 
we had their machine-like patience and deftness acquired 
through so many generations. 

We cannot hold work with our feet and draw saws to- 
wards us or do turning out on the lawn with a few sticks and 
a bit of rope for a lathe; carve a set of wonderful open- 
work hollow spheres, each within the other, out of one solid 
ball of ivory; and the rest of the queer things the Orientals 
do: but it is merely a matter of national individuality the 
training of hundreds of generations. We could learn to do 
such things after a long time doubtless, but with no such 
wonderful adaptability as the Japanese, for instance, are 
showing, in learning our ways in one generation. 

Examine some of the exquisite work which the Orientals 
sell so cheaply and think whether you know anyone with 
skill enough to do it if he had a whole hardware-shop full 



Wood- Working for Beginners 

of tools, and then see with what few simple and rude tools 
(like those shown in the following illustrations, or the simple 
drill, Fig. I, still in use) the work 
has been done. Mr. Holtzapffel 
describes the primitive apparatus in 
use among the natives of India as 
follows ' : 

" When any portion of household fur- 
\\ niture has tobe turned, the wood-turner 

f&M is sent for; he comes with all his outfit 

^Sr and establishes himself for the occasion 

T at the very door of his employer. He 

commences by digging two holes in the 

ground at a distance suitable to the length of the work, and in these 
he fixes two short wooden posts, securing them as strongly as he 
can by ramming the earth and driving in wedges and stones around 
them. The centres, scarcely more than round nails or spikes, are 
driven through the posts at about eight inches from the ground, 
and a wooden rod, for the support of the tools, is either nailed to 
the posts or tied to them by a piece of coir or cocoanut rope. 
The bar, if long, is additionally supported, as represented, by 
being tied to one or two vertical sticks driven into the ground. 
During most of his mechanical operations the Indian workman is 
seated on the ground, hence the small elevation of the axes of his 
lathe. The boy who gives motion to the work sits or kneels on 
the other side of it, holding the ends of the cord wrapped around 
it in his hands, pulling them alternately; the cutting being re- 
stricted to one half of the motion, that of the work towards the 
tool. The turning tools of the Indian are almost confined to the 
chisel and gouge, and their handles are long enough to suit his 
distant position, while he guides their cutting edges by his toes. 
He grasps the bar or tool-rest with the smaller toes and places 

1 Quoted, by kind permission, from Turning and Mechanical Manipulation, 



the tool between the large toe and its neighbour, generally out of 
contact with the bar. The Indian and all other turners using 
the Eastern method attain a high degree of prehensile power 
with the toes, and when seated at their work not only always use 
them to guide the tool, but will select indifferently the hand or 
the foot, whichever may happen to be the nearer, to pick up or 
replace any small tool or other object. The limited supply of 

FIG. 2. 

tools the Indian uses for working in wood is also remarkable; they 
are of the most simple kind and hardly exceed those represented 
in Fig. 2; the most essential in constructing and setting up his 
lathe being the small, single-handed adze, the bassoolah. With 
this he shapes his posts and digs the holes; it serves on all occa- 
sions as a hammer and also as an anvil when the edge is for a time 
fixed in a block of wood. The outer side of the cutting edge is 
perfectly flat, and with it the workman will square or face a beam 
pr board with almost as much precision as if it had been planed; 

i2 Wood-Working for Beginners 

in using the bassoolah for this latter purpose the work is generally 
placed in the forked stem of a tree, driven into the ground as 
shown in the illustration." 

If we are inclined to feel proud of the kind of woodwork 
turned out by the average wood-worker of this country or 
England with his great variety of tools and appliances and 
facilities, we might compare his work with that done by the 
Orientals without our appliances. Read what Professor 
Morse tells us of the Japanese carpenter ' : 

" His trade, as well as other trades, has been perpetuated 
through generations of families. The little children have been 
brought up amidst the odour of fragrant shavings, have with 
childish hands performed the duties of an adjustable vise or 
clamp; and with the same tools which when children they have 
handed to their fathers, they have in later days earned their daily 
rice. When I see one of our carpenters' ponderous tool-chests, 
made of polished woods, inlaid with brass decorations, and filled 
to repletion with several hundred dollars' worth of highly polished 
and elaborate machine-made implements, and contemplate the 
work often done with them, with everything binding that should 
go loose, and everything rattling that should be tight, and much 
work that has to be done twice over, with an indication every- 
where of a poverty of ideas, and then recall the Japanese car- 
penter with his ridiculously light and flimsy tool-box containing 
a meagre assortment of rude and primitive tools, considering 
the carpentry of the two people, I am forced to the conviction 
that civilisation and modern appliances count as nothing unless 
accompanied with a moiety of brains and some little taste and 
wit. . . . After having seen the good and serviceable car- 
pentry, the perfect joints and complex mortises, done by good 
Japanese workmen, one is astonished to find that they do their 

1 Quoted, by kind permission, from the valuable and entertaining work on 
Japanese Homes and their Surroundings (copyright, 1885), by EdwardS. Morse. 


work without the aid of certain appliances considered indispens- 
able by similar craftsmen in our country. They have no bench, 
no vise, no spirit-level, and no bit-stock; and 
as for labour-saving machinery, they have 
absolutely nothing. With many places which 
could be utilised for water-power, the old 
country saw-mill has not occurred to them. 
Their tools appear to be roughly made and of 
primitive design, though evidently of the 
best-tempered steel. The only substitute for 
the carpenter's bench is a plank on the floor, 
or on two horses; a square, firm, upright post 
is the nearest approach to a bench and vise, 
for to this beam a block of wood to be sawed 
into pieces is firmly held (Fig. 3). A big 
wooden wedge is bound firmly to 
the post with a stout rope, and this 
driven down with vigorous blows 
till it pinches the block which is 
to be cut into the desired propor- 

" In using many of the tools, 
the Japanese car- 
penter handles them 
quite differently 
from our workman ; 
for instance, he 
draws the plane 
towards him instead 
of pushing it from 
him. The planes 
are very rude-looking implements. Their bodies, instead of being 
thick blocks of wood, are quite wide and thin (Fig. 4, D, E), 
and the blades are inclined at a greater angle than the blade in 
our plane. In some planes, however, the blade stands vertical; 

From Morse's Japanese Homes. 

1 4 Wood- Working for Beginners 

this is used in lieu of the steel scrapers in giving wood a smooth 
finish, and might be used with advantage by our carpenters as a 
substitute for the piece of glass or thin plate of steel with which 
they usually scrape the surface of the wood. A huge plane is 
often seen, five or six feet long. This plane, however, is fixed 
in an inclined position, upside down; that is, with the blade 

FIG. 4. 

From Morse's Japanese Homes. 

uppermost. The board, or piece to be planed, is moved back 
and forth upon it. Draw-shaves are in common use. The saws 
are of various kinds, with teeth much longer than those of our 
saws, and cut in different ways. . . . Some saws have teeth 
on the back as well as on the front, one edge being used as a 
cross-cut saw (Fig. 4, B, C). The hand-saw, instead of having 
the curious loop-shaped handle made to accommodate only one 
hand, as with us, has a simple straight cylindrical handle as long 

Tools 15 

as the saw itself, and sometimes longer. Our carpenters engage 
one hand in holding the stick to be sawed while driving the saw 
with the other hand; the Japanese carpenter, on the contrary, 
holds the piece with his foot, and stooping over, with his two 
hands drives the saw by quick and rapid cuts through the wood. 
This style of working and doing many other things could never 
be adopted in this country without an importation of Japanese 
backs. . . . The adze is provided with a rough handle bend- 
ing considerably at the lower end, not unlike a hockey-stick 
(Fig. 4, A). . . . For drilling holes a very long-handled awl 
is used. The carpenter seizing the handle at the end, between 
the palms of his hands, and moving his hands rapidly back and 
forth, pushing down at the same time, the awl is made rapidly 
to rotate back and forth; as his hands gradually slip down on the 
handle he quickly seizes it at the upper end again, continuing 
the motion as before. One is astonished to see how rapidly holes 
are drilled in this simple yet effective way. For large holes, 
augers similar to ours are used." 

When you are obliged to work some day with few and 
insufficient tools (as most workmen are at times), you will 
quickly realise how much you can do with very few in case 
of necessity, and will "more fully appreciate the skill of those 
Eastern people who do so much with so little. We do not 
need so many hand-tools for woodwork as our grandfathers 
and our great-grandfathers, although we make a greater 
variety of things, because machinery now does so much of 
the work for us. Wood-workers of fifty years ago had, for 
instance, dozens of planes for cutting all sorts of grooves, 
mouldings, and the like, which are now worked by machine 
at the nearest mill. 

Suggestions about Buying. Do not start in by buying 
a chest of tools, certainly not one of the small cheap sets. 
They are not necessarily poor, but are very apt to be. Get 

1 6 Wood-Working for Beginners 

a few tools at a time as you need them. In that way you 
will get all you need in the most satisfactory way. 

Besides the fact that you can do good work with few tools 
there are various reasons which make it better to begin with 
but few. You will probably take better care of a few than 
of many. If you have thirty chisels on the rack before you 
and you make a nick in the end of the one you are using, 
there is a strong chance that instead of stopping to sharpen 
it you will lay it aside and take one of the remaining twenty- 
nine that will answer your purpose, and before you realise 
it have a whole rack full of dull tools. If you have but few 
chisels, you will be compelled to sharpen them, and so get 
into the habit of taking proper care of them not to speak 
of the time which is often wasted in putting away one tool 
and selecting another unnecessarily. 

The longer you work the more you will get to rely on a 
small number of tools only, however many you may have at 
hand for occasional use. After you have worked for some 
time you will be very likely to have your favourite tools, 
and find that certain tools do better work in your hands 
than certain others which perhaps someone else would use 
for the purpose, and you will naturally favour the use of 
those particular implements, which is another less important 
reason for not starting in with too great a variety. I do 
not mean that you will imagine you can do better with one 
tool than another, but that you really can do so. That is 
where individuality comes in the " personal equation." 

Watch a skilful carver at a piece of ordinary work. See 
how few tools he spreads before him, and how much he 
does with the one in his hand before he lays it down for 
another. You would think it would take twenty-five tools, 
perhaps, to cut such a design, but the carver may have only 
about half a dozen before him. He gets right into the spirit 

Tools 1 7 

of what he is doing, and somehow or other he does ever so 
many things with the tool in his hand in less time and carries 
out his idea better than if he kept breaking off to select 

This shows that confidence in the use of a tool goes a 
long way toward the execution of good work, which is one 
reason for learning to use a few tools well and making them 
serve for all the uses to which they can advantageously be 
put. In short, if you have but few tools at first you get 
the most you can out of each tool and in the way best for 

Now I do not mean by all this that it is not a good thing 
to have a large kit of tools, or that you should not have the 
proper tools for the various operations, and use them. I 
mean that you should get your tools gradually as you find 
that you need them to do your work as it should be done, 
and not get a lot in advance of needing them just because 
they seem to be fine things to have, or because some car- 
penter has them in his chest. 

Do not place too much reliance on the lists of tools which 
you find in books and magazines the " tools necessary for 
beginners," " a list of tools for boys," etc. Such lists are 
necessarily arbitrary. To make a short list that would be 
thoroughly satisfactory for such varied work as a boy or 
amateur may turn his hand to is about as impracticable as 
the attempts you sometimes see to name the twenty-five 
greatest or best men or the one hundred best books. When 
you can find half a dozen independent lists which agree it 
will be time enough to begin to pin your faith to them. 
The most experienced or learned people cannot agree ex- 
actly in such matters. It depends somewhat, for one thing, 
on what kind of work you begin with, and, of course, some- 
what upon yourself also. 

1 8 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Now while, as we have seen, most wonderful work can be 
done with the most primitive tools, the fact remains that 
you are neither Chinese nor Japanese, but Americans and 
English, and you cannot work to the best advantage with- 
out certain tools. fc Well, what are they ? Why don't 
you give us a list to begin with ? That 's what we are look- 
ing for." Simply because a quite varied experience has 
taught me to think it better to give you suggestions to help 
you make the selection for yourselves. 

Just as the great majority of boys would agree upon 
Robinson Crusoe, for instance, as belonging in the front rank 
of boys' books, but would make very different selections of 
second-rate or third-rate books, so there are a few " univer- 
sal " tools, upon the importance of which all agree, such as 
the saw, hammer, hatchet or axe, and a few others; but 
beyond these few you can have as many " lists " as you can 
find people to make them, up to the point of including all 
you are likely to want. So let your list make itself as you 
go along, according to your own needs. 

It is safe to say, however, that if your work is to be at all 
varied, such as is given in this book, for instance, you can- 
not get along to good advantage for any length of time 
without a rule, a try-square , a straight-edge, a knife, two or 
three chisels, a hatchet, a gouge, a smoot king-plane, a spoke- 
shave, a panel-saw, a hammer and nail-set, a bit-brace and 
three or four bits (tzvist -drills are good for the smaller sizes), 
a countersink, a few bradawls and gimlets, a screw-driver, a 
rasp and half-round file for wood, a three-cornered file for 
metal, an oil-stone, a glue-pot; An excellent and cheap 
combination tool for such work as you will do can be bought 
almost anywhere under the name of " odd jobs. 1 ' Of 
course you will need nails, screws, sandpaper, glue, oil, and 
such supplies, which you can buy as you need them. A 

Tools 19 

section (18 inches or 20 inches high) from the trunk of a 
tree is very useful for a chopping-block, or any big junk of 
timber can be used. 

You will, however, quickly feel the need of a few more 
tools to do your work to better advantage, and according 
to the kind of work you are doing you will add some of the 
following: a fore-plane, a splitting-saw, a mallet, a back-saw, 
compasses, one or more firmer chisels, one or more framing- 
chisels, a block-plane, pincers, a gauge or two, one or more 
gouges, a steel square, a draiv-knife, a large screw-driver, a 
scraper, a few hand-screws (or iron clamps], a few more bits, 
gimlets, bradawls, or drills, cutting -pliers or nippers, a 
bevel, a jointer (plane), a wrench. An iron mitre-box is 
useful but rather expensive, and you can get along with 
the wooden one described further on. A grindstone is, of 
course, essential when you get to the point of sharpening 
your tools yourself, but you can have your tools ground 
or get the use of a stone without having to buy one for a 
long time. 

The following list makes a fair outfit for nearly and some- 
times all the work the average amateur is likely to do, ex- 
cepting the bench appliances and such contrivances as you 
will make yourselves and the occasional addition of a bit or 
chisel or gouge or file, etc., of some other size or shape 
when needed. This is not a list to start with, of course, 
unless you can afford it, for you can get along for a good 
while with only a part, nor is it a complete list, but merely 
one with which a great amount of useful work can be done 
to good advantage. You can always add to it for special 

For further remarks about these tools and others and 
their uses, see Part V., where they will be found alphabeti- 
cally arranged. 

20 Wood-Working for Beginners 

i two-foot rule, 
i try-square (metal-bound). 
i pair of wing compasses, 
i marking-gauge. 
i mortise-gauge, 
i steel square (carpenter's fram- 
i bevel, 
i " odd jobs." 
i chalk-line and chalk. 

1 knife. 

5 firmer chisels (^", ^*, *, *, 

2 framing- or mortising-chisels 

3 gouge's U*,r, i'). 

i iron spoke-shave (adjustable). 

i draw-knife. 

i hatchet. 

i block-plane. 

i smoothing-plane. 

i long fore-plane (or a jointer). 

i jack-plane. 

i rabbet-plane (f or -J" square). 

i cutting-off saw (panel-saw, 

i splitting-saw (26"). 
i back-saw(i2"). 
i turning-saw (14"). 

An adjustable iron mitre-box 
this list, and a grindstone is of 
your grinding done. 

A few carver's tools are also 
afford them, as a skew-chisel (%" 

s compass and key-hole saw 

i bit-brace. 

3 auger-bits (*, *, i ff ). 
3 twist-drills (', T 3 /, ')- 
A few bradawls and gimlets, 
i screw-driver for bit-brace, 
i countersink. 

1 hammer and 2 nail-sets. 

2 screw-drivers (different sizes). 
Files of several kinds (flat, 

three-cornered, and round 
for metal, and half-round 
and round for wood). 

i large half-round rasp. 

i cabinet scraper and burn- 

i mallet. 

i pair cutting-pliers. 

i pair of pincers. 

i wrench. 

1 oil-stone and oiler. 

2 or 3 oil-stone slips (different 


1 glue-pot. 

2 or more iron clamps. 

2 or more wooden hand-screws. 
2 or more cabinet clamps (2' to 


will be a valuable addition to 
use even when you get most of 

convenient at times if you can 
I, a parting-tool (*), and a small 

Tools 21 

General supplies, such as nails, screws, glue, etc., specified in 
Part V., will of course be required. 

There are still more tools than those given above, as you 
doubtless know, but by the time you have become workman 
enough to need more you will know what you need. Ploughs, 
matching-planes, and all such implements are omitted, 
because il is better and usually as cheap to get such work 
as they do done by machine at a mill. I also assume that 
all your heavy sawing and planing will be done at some 
mill. It is not worth while for the amateur to undertake 
the sawing and planing of large pieces, the hewing and 
splitting of the rougher branches of woodwork, for such 
work can be done almost anywhere by machine at very slight 
expense, and stock can be bought already got out and planed 
for but a trifle more than the cost of the wood alone. 1 

Be sure to get good tools. There is a saying that a good 
workman is known by his tools, and another that a poor 
workman is always complaining of his tools, that is, excus- 
ing his own incompetence by throwing the blame upon his 
tools. There is also another saying to the effect that a good 
workman can work with poor tools; but it is simply because 
he is a skilled and ingenious workman that he can if neces- 
sary often do good work in spite of inferior tools, and of 
course he could do the same work more easily and quickly, 
if not better, with good ones. 

So do not think that because you sometimes see a skilled 
workman making shift with poor tools that you are justified 
in beginning in that way, for a beginner should use only good 

1 If you are so situated, as possibly a few of you may be, that you cannot 
get the benefit of modern methods, but must do all the rough work that your 
grandfathers did, you will require a few additional tools, but these you can 
readily select from the descriptions given farther on. 

22 Wood-Working for Beginners 

tools and in good condition or he may never become a 
good workman at all, so make your tools and their care a 
matter of pride. If your tools are of good quality, and 
proper care is taken of them, they will last a lifetime and 
longer; so good tools prove the cheapest in the end. 1 
There are some cases, however, in which it is as well not 
to buy the most expensive tools at first, as a cheap rule will 
do as well as an expensive one, considering how likely you 
are to break or lose it, and a cheap gauge will answer quite 
well for a good while; but this does not affect the truth of 
the general statement that you should get only the best 
tools. There are also quite a number of tools, appliances, 
and makeshifts which you can make for yourselves, some of 
which will be described. I advise you not to pick up tools 
at second-hand shops, auctions, or junk shops, except with 
the assistance of some competent workman. 

Care of Tools. Keep your tools in good order. You 
cannot do nice, fine, clean work with a dull tool. A sharp 
tool will make a clean cut, but a dull edge will tear or crush 
the fibres and not leave a clean-cut surface. You can work 
so much more easily and quickly as well as satisfactorily with 
sharp tools that the time it takes to keep them in order is 
much less than you lose in working with dull ones, not to 
speak of the waste of strength and temper. 

I assume that you will not attempt to sharpen your tools 
yourselves until you have had considerable experience in 

1 There are many reliable makers of tools. Among them the following can 
be named, and their tools can be obtained almost anywhere : Saws Henry 
Disston. Chisels and gouges Moulson Bros.; Buck Bros. Planes Stanley ; 
Moulson Bros, (plane-irons) ; Wm. Butcher (do.) ; Buck Bros, (do.) Files 
P. S. Stubs. Rules and squares, levels, gauges, spoke-shaves, etc. Stanley 
Rule & Level Co. Braces Barber. Bits Jennings. Knives (sloid) 
Taylor. Carving tools Addis ; Buck ; Taylor. 

Tools 23 

using them ; for sharpening tools (particularly saws and 
planes) is very hard for boys and amateurs, and not easy to 
learn from a book. So, until then, be sure to have them 
sharpened whenever they become dull. The expense is 
but slight, and it is much better to have fewer tools kept 
sharp than to spend the money for more tools and have 
them dull. When you get to the point of sharpening your 
tools, one lesson from a practical workman or even a little 
time spent in watching the operations (which you can do eas- 
ily) will help you more than reading many pages from any 
book. So I advise you to get instruction in sharpening from 
some practical workman, not at first, but after you have 
got quite handy with the tools. You can easily do this at 
little or no expense. For further points, see Sharpening, 
in Part V. 

It is a good plan to soak tool handles, mallets, and 
wooden planes, when new, for a week or so in raw linseed 
oil and then rub them with a soft rag every day or two 
for a while. If you use wooden planes give them a good 
soaking. They will absorb much oil and work more freely 
and smoothly. You can save tool handles from being split 
by pounding, by sawing the ends off square and fastening on 
two round disks of sole-leather in the way adopted by shoe- 
makers. If there is any tendency to dampness in your shop 
the steel and iron parts of the tools should be greased with 
a little fat, tallow, lard, wax, vaseline, or some anti-rust 

Use of Tools. It is very important to get started right in 
using tools. If your first idea of what the tool is for and 
how it should be used is correct you will get along nicely 
afterwards, but if you start with a wrong impression you will 
have to unlearn, which is always hard, and start afresh. 

24 Wood-Working for Beginners 

If you can go to a good wood-working school you will of 
course learn much, and if you know a good-natured carpen- 
ter or cabinet-maker or any wood-worker of the old-fashioned 
kind, cultivate his acquaintance. If he is willing to let you 
watch his work and to answer your questions you can add 
much to your knowledge of the uses of the different tools. In 
fact, so far as instruction goes that is about all the teaching 
the average apprentice gets. He learns by observing and 
by practice. Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask questions. 
Very few men will refuse to answer an amateur's questions 
unless they are unreasonably frequent. There will be prob- 
lems enough to exercise all the ingenuity you have after you 
have learned what you can from others. 

But the day for the all-round workman seems to be 
rapidly passing away and the tendency nowadays is for 
each workman, instead of spending years in learning the 
various branches and details of his trade, to be expert in 
only one very limited branch or, as sometimes happens, a 
general botch in all the branches ; so unless you find a real 
mechanic for a friend (such as an old or middle-aged village 
carpenter, or cabinet-maker, or wheelwright, or boat-builder, 
or carver), be a little guarded about believing all he tells 
or shows you ; and beware of relying implicitly on the teach- 
ings of the man who " knows it all " and whom a season's 
work at nailing up studding and boarding has turned into 
a full-fledged " carpenter." 

If you can learn to use your tools with either hand you will 
often find it a decided advantage, as in getting out crooked 
work, or particularly in carving, where you have such an 
endless variety of cuts to be made in almost every possible 
direction, but " that is another story." A bad habit and one 
to guard against is that of carrying with you the tool you 
may be using whenever you leave your work temporarily, 

Tools 25 

instead of laying it down where you are working. Edge-tools 
are dangerous things to carry around in the hand and there is 
also much chance of their being mislaid. 

For directions for using the different tools see Part V. 

Edge-Tools. Bear in mind that all cutting tools work 
more or less on the principle of the wedge. So far as the mere 
cutting is concerned a keen edge is all that is required and 
your knife or other cutting tool might be as thin as a sheet of 
paper. But of course such a tool would break, so it must be 
made thicker for strength and wedge-shaped so that it may 
be pushed through the wood as easily as possible. 

You know that you can safely use a very thin knife to cut 
butter because the butter yields so easily that there is 
not much strain on the blade, but that when you cut wood 
the blade must be thicker to stand the strain of being pushed 
through. Soft wood cuts more easily than hard, because it 
is more easily pushed aside or compressed by the wedge- 
shaped tool, and it does not matter how keen the edge may 
be if the resistance of the wood is so great that you cannot 
force the thicker part of the tool through it. 

You will understand from all this that the more acute the 
angle of the cutting edge the more easily it will do its work, 
provided always that the angle is obtuse or blunt enough to 
give the proper strength to the end of the tool ; and also that 
as the end of the tool encounters more resistance in hard 
than soft wood, the angle should be more obtuse or blunter 
for the former than for the latter. Theoretically, therefore, 
the angle of the cutting edge, to obtain the greatest possible 
advantage, would need to be changed with every piece 
of wood and every kind of cut, but practically all that can be 
done is to have a longer bevel on the tools for soft wood 
than for hard. Experience and observation will teach these 
angles. See Sharpening in Part V. 


Wood-Working for Beginners 

FIG. 5. 

When you cut off a stout stick, as the branch of a tree, 
you do not try to force your knife straight across with one 

cut. You cut a small 
notch and then widen 
and deepen it by cut- 
ting first on one side 
and then on the other 
(Fig- 5)- The wood 
yields easily to the 
wedge on the side to- 
wards the notch, so 
that the edge can 
easily cut deeper, and 
thus the notch is 
gradually cut through 
the stick. The same 
principle is seen in 
cutting down a tree 
with an axe. You 
have only to look at 
the structure of a 
piece of wood when 
magnified, as roughly 
indicated in Fig. 6, to 
see why it is easier to 
cut with the grain 
than across it. 

You can often cut 
better with a draw- 
stroke, i. e., not mere- 

F IG- 7> ly pushing the tool 

straight ahead, but 
drawing it across sideways at the same time (Fig. 7). You 

Tools 27 

can press the sharp edge of a knife or razor against your 
hand without cutting, but draw the edge across and you 
will be cut at once. Even a blade of grass will cut if you 
draw the edge quickly through your hand, as you doubtless 

If you try to push a saw down into a piece of wood, as 
you push a knife down through a lump of butter, or as in 
chopping with a hatchet, that is, without pushing and pulling 
the saw back and forth, it will not enter the wood to any 
extent, but when you begin to work it back and forth it cuts 
(or tears) its way into the wood at once. You know how much 
better you can cut a slice of fresh bread when you saw the 
knife back and forth than when you merely push it straight 
down through the loaf. You may have noticed (and you 
may not) how much better your knife will cut, and that the 
cut will be cleaner, in doing some kinds of whittling, when 
you draw it through the wood from handle to point (Fig. 7), 
instead of pushing it straight through in the common way, 
and you will discover, if you try cutting various substances, 
that as a general rule the softer the material the greater the 
advantage in the draw-stroke. 

Now put the sharpest edge-tool you can find under a 
powerful microscope, and you will see that the edge, instead 
of being so very smooth, is really quite ragged, a sort of 
saw-like edge. Then look at the structure of a piece of 
wood as roughly indicated in Fig. 6, and you will understand 
at once just what we do when we cut wood with an edge-tool. 
You see the microscopically small sticks or tubes or bundles 
of woody fibre of which the big stick is composed, and 
you also see the microscopically fine saw to cut them. Now 
if the edge of the tool is fine you can often do the work 
satisfactorily by simply pushing the tool straight through 
the wood, but do you not see that if you can draw or slide 


Wood-Working for Beginners 

the tool either back or forth the edge, being saw-like, will 
do its work better ? 

This stroke cannot be used of course in chopping with 
the axe or hatchet, splitting kindling-wood, or splitting a stick 
with the grain with a knife or chisel. In these operations 
the main principle is that of the wedge, pure and simple, 
driven through by force, the keen edge merely starting the cut, 


after which the wedge does the rest of the work by bearing 
so hard against the wood at the sides of the cut that it forces 
it to split in advance of the cutting edge, as in riving a log 
by the use first of an axe, then of an iron wedge, and finally 
a large wooden wedge (Fig. 8). 

Practical directions and suggestions about the different 
Tools and their Uses and the various Operations will be found 
alphabetically arranged in Part V. 



BEFORE you can make anything successfully, you must 
have not merely wood, but the right kind of wood for 
the purpose. There are, also, " choice cuts " in lumber, as 
the butcher says of meat, and judicious selection of the 
stock often makes all the difference between a good job and 
a poor one ; so let us examine a log 
and follow it through the sawmill. 
You have, of course, seen the 
rings, or circular lines, on the ends 
of pieces of wood (Fig. 9). These 
are called the annual rings, 1 and 
each ring marks a new layer of 
wood added to the tree, for, as 
perhaps you may have learned, the 
trees we use for wood-working 
grow by adding new layers of wood 

FIG. 9. 

on the- outside. Examine the ends of pieces of wood of 
various kinds. In some pieces these rings will be very 
plain. In others they will be quite indistinct. 

Notice that the wood nearest the bark, known as the sap- 
wood, usually looks different from the inner wood, which is 
called the heart (Fig. 9). 

In some trees you will see rays, or lines, radiating from 
the centre, and known as the medullary rays (Figs. 9 and 

1 So called because in the common trees of temperate climes one layer is 
added each year. 


Wood-Working for Beginners 

10), because they spring from the pith (Latin medulla}. 

Sometimes these lines are too fine to be noticed. 

You will see from Fig. 10 that the layers of wood are 

also shown in the lines of what we call the " grain " on the 

surface of a piece of wood cut lengthways, and that the 
lines of the grain are continuations of 
the annual rings. You will also notice 
at the ends of timber, after the season- 
ing has begun, cracks radiating from 

FIG. 10. 

FIG. n. 

the centre, showing the natural lines of cleavage or separa- 

The way the log is sawed is important, though you might 
naturally think that the only thing is to saw it any way that 
will give pieces of the required size and shape. 

Why is green wood heavier and softer than dry wood, 
and the sapwood of green timber softer than the heart? 
Because of the sap or water contained. The amount of 
water is sometimes even as much as fifty per cent, of the 
weight of the wood, but the quantity depends upon the kind 
of tree, the season, etc. Now the more water the green log 
contains, the more it will shrink. It begins to dry and 


shrink as soon as the tree has been cut down. The sap- 
wood shrinks more than the heart because it contains more 
water, and faster because, being on the outside, it is more ex- 
posed. The log shrinks most in the line of the annual rings, 
that is, around the tree. It shrinks much less in the line of 
the medullary rays, that is, across the tree. Shrinkage length- 
ways is too slight to be considered ' (Fig. 1 1). 

The result of all 
this unequal shrink- 
ing is that the log 
tends to split, orcrack 
open, at the circum- 
ference (Fig. 12), the 
cracks running in to- 
ward the centre, in 
the line of the med- 
ullary rays. If the log 
is halved or quarter- 
ed, so that the inner 
parts are exposed, 
the drying goes on 
more uniformly 
throughout, the 
cracking is not so bad, 
and the parts of the 
log will shrink some- 
what as shown in 
T-- j FIG. 13. 

Figs. 13 and 14. 

The beams, joists, planks, or boards cut from a log have 

1 Although the shrinkage lengthways is not usually noticeable as affecting 
the length of a board, it shows slightly by its effect in causing the pieces to 
spring, or become bowed lengthwise, as you will see in many boards which 
have been left free to spring while seasoning. 

Wood-Working for Beginners 

the same tendency to shrink unevenly that is found in the 
log itself. This causes them to be irregular in shape and to 
curl or warp more or less, according to the part of the log 
from which they are taken. A piece cut from the centre of 

a log will thus hold 
its shape better than 
if cut from one side 

(Fig- 15). 

When a log is 
sawed into boards or 
planks (Fig. 16) the 
middle board 
shrinks but little in 
width and in thick- 
FlG - I4 ' ness at the centre, 

but becomes thinner towards the edges. It does not curl, 
because it is cut through the centre of the log and has 
no more tendency to curl one way than the other. The 

FIG. 15. FIG. 1 6. 

outside board shrinks least in thickness and most in width, 
and all, except the middle one, shrink differently on one 
side from the other. They become convex toward the pith, 
or heart, and concave toward the outside. Different kinds 


of wood shrink and warp to different degrees. You can 
learn something about these matters by examining the stock 
in any lumber-yard. 

Now to come to the practical application of our brief 
study of the log and the 
sawing process: if you 
merely wish to get the most 
that you can from a log in 
the form of boards or 
off in the simple way just 
shown (Fig. 17). This is 
the usual way of sawing for 
ordinary purposes. Boarding, 
for the outside of a house, for 
instance, cut in this way 
answers every purpose. By 
this process the central boards 
will be good and the outer ones 
inferior, 1 as just shown (Fig. 16), 
but for common work all can 
generally be used. 

If you wish the highly figured i 
grain a often seen in oak, ash, 
chestnut, etc., you can get it by 
sawing the log as just shown in 
Fig. 17. The figure of the grain will be most marked in the 
outer boards (Fig. 18), because the annual rings are cut more 

1 In addition to the curling, the outer boards will be poorer because they 
contain a greater proportion of sapwood, which is usually inferior to the heart- 

2 By this is not meant the figure or flashes shown by the medullary rays, or 
"silver grain," seen in quartered oak and some other woods, but the figure of 
the grain without the medullary rays, as seen \nplain oak, etc. 


FIG. 18. 

FIG. 19. 


Wood-Working for Beginners 

F G. 20. 

obliquely in them than in the boards at or near the centre. 
These boards (Fig. 17) will tend to change their shape, as 

just shown (Fig. 19), but if they 
are to be firmly fastened in some 
way, or confined (as in a panel), 
handsome grain effects can be ob- 

If you wish the beautiful figure 
formed when the medullary rays 
show on the surface of the board, 
as in " quartered " oak, the log 
should be cut in the direction of 
the radii, that is, along the lines 
of the medullary rays (Fig. 
20). The more exactly the 
side of a board is cut on 
the radial line the more 
richly the figure of the 
medullary rays will be 
shown, as in Fig. 21. This 
method of sawing is more 
expensive than the first 
way, of course, as it re- 
quires more labour and 
wastes more of the wood. 
The wide board shown in 
Fig. 21 and either of those 
in Fig. 22 are examples. 
If you wish boards that 

will shrink the least in 
FIG. 22. . , . i , 

width and remain as true 

as possible, then the log should be sawed on the radial lines 
as just shown, so that all the boards will be from the middle 



of the log. Wood shrinks but little in the direction of the 
radii, as just shown, and middle boards will be alike on both 
sides as regards heart- and sap-wood, etc., and, therefore, 
have the least tendency to change of shape. The middle 

FIG. 23. 

FIG. 24. 

FIG. 25. 

board by the method of Fig. 17 will be a good board in 
these respects. 

Various methods of radial sawing, or in which part of the 
boards are so cut, are shown in Figs. 20 and 26, Figs. 23, 
24, 25, and 26 showing the log quartered and various ways 

FIG. 26. 

FIG. 27. 

of sawing into boards. Thus we see that the middle boards, 
those passing through or near the centre, are the best for 
most purposes. 

Split or rift stock is stronger than sawed. If you wish a 
piece especially tough and durable, as for an axe handle or 

36 Wood- Working for Beginners 

a stout pin, it should be split out rather than sawed, unless 
the wood is very straight-grained, because the splitting is 
sure to be in the line of the fibres, thus avoiding " cross- 
grain," which cannot well be entirely prevented in sawing. 
If the grain is straight, there may be no practical difference 
in the result between sawing and splitting, as in the so-called 
rift flooring, which is really sawed, but with crooked-grained 
pieces the difference is marked in such cases as the block 
shown in Fig. 27, from which four pins can be sawed, while 
but one can be split out. That one will be straight-grained, 
however, and stronger than the sawed ones, which will be 

Try your best to get well-seasoned wood for your nice 
work. If it is not dry before you use it, it must of course 
dry afterwards, which is likely to cause cracks, warping, 
opened joints, and often the entire ruin of the article you 
have made. You will have to trust the dealer, or some 
friend, until you have had enough experience to judge for 
yourself, for it is no easy matter for an amateur to decide, 
except in case of very green stock, which is of course wet 
and soggy. 

There are two ways of drying wood in common use. One 
is the old-fashioned way (commonly known as seasoning, 
weather-drying, or air-drying] in which the wood is gradually 
seasoned by the natural process of exposure to the air (but 
protected from the weather), that is, letting it dry of itself. 

Do not believe the statements so common in books that it 
" takes lumber " some definite time, as one year or two years, 
" to season." It all depends on the kind of wood, its shape and 
size, the condition of the atmosphere, and various circumstances. 
For some rough work (a pig-pen, for instance) there is no advant- 
age in seasoning at all, because the stock can just as well dry 
after the work is done as before. For many kinds of com- 

Wood 37 

mon work one or two years is sufficient for some kinds and sizes 
of wood ; for a nicer grade of work two or three years is none too 
much, while for very nice indoor work four years or more is not 
too long for the stock to season. There is very little danger of 
its being kept too long. It never will get perfectly dry (see Ap- 
pendix). Whether it is dry enough or not depends on what you 
want it for. 

To save time and money the artificial way (known as 
kiln-drying) of shutting it up in a room and drying it quickly 
by steam or other heat is now used, and, so far as drying the 
wood is concerned, this process can do the work well and 
much more quickly than the old way sometimes too 
quickly. It is no exaggeration to say that in factories 
where cheap furniture and other common articles are made 
nowadays, a standing tree is felled on Monday, the log rolled 
into one end of the factory, and before Saturday night the 
finished articles made from it, all varnished and complete, 
are sent out from the other end of the shop and some 
articles are turned out even quicker. 

In the natural process of air-drying the moisture gradually 
and slowly works out to the surface and evaporates, until the 
wood is seasoned, though never absolutely dry, and the stock 
is firmer, more elastic, and less affected by heat and cold, 
moisture and dryness, than if kiln-dried. The latter process 
tends to dry the outside and ends of the lumber too fast for 
the inside. It certainly lessens the elasticity of the wood 
and weakens it. Making it so unnaturally dry (as if baked), 
as is often done, only makes it more susceptible to the 
atmosphere when taken from the kiln, and, unless it is at 
once protected from the air in some way, it will reabsorb 
moisture until it gets into a more natural condition ; but that 
will not fully restore the loss of elasticity (see Appendix). 
The deterioration in the quality of the wood can be plainly 

38 Wood-Working for Beginners 

seen by any wood-worker, and is often a subject of remark in 
regard to oak. 

The kiln-drying " takes the life out of the wood," as work- 
men express it, but just why this is so is not easy to ex- 
plain, for the structure and properties of wood are very 
complex. I have seen too many illustrations in my own 
experience and that of others to have any doubt of the fact, 
however, and lumber left for years to season naturally, 
" stands," as the expression is, better than if kiln-dried a 
fact which is, I think, generally conceded by wood-workers 
who have had experience with both kinds. 

The gain by kiln-drying, in time and money, is, therefore, 
more or less offset by impairment of the quality of the wood, 
so if you can find stock that you know has been seasoning 
for years by the natural process, buy it by all means for 
your nice work, even if you have to pay more, regardless 
of what the dealers in kiln-dried stock or the makers of 
articles for sale may tell you about the advantages of kiln- 
dried wood. 

On the other hand, if a dealer brags of his new patent 
" chain-lightning " dryer that will make green wood "dry as 
a bone " in two or three days, go elsewhere to buy your 
stock, for wood dried in a few days is not the kind to use 
for good work. You will probably have to use kiln-dried 
stock for most, or, perhaps, all of your work, but get it from 
a slow-drying kiln and keep it for further seasoning as long 
as you can. 

Even if wood has been well seasoned, it is best, before put- 
ting it into nice work, to cut it up and dress it approxim- 
ately to shape and leave it in a dry place for some time 
for a final seasoning, particularly in the case of thick stock. 
Do this with kiln-dried stock fresh from the dry-house. Let 
it have a little time to get into harmony with the atmos- 



phere. Whenever wood has been exposed to damp air, as 
in a wet shed or cellar, let it stand in the warm shop a while 
before using it for nice work. 

The stock is arranged for seasoning so as to allow the air 
to circulate around and between the pieces. A common 
way is simply to arrange them in piles, each piece being 
separated from those above and below by strips or sticks 
laid across (Fig. 28). These sticks should be placed 
directly over one another, and so that the lumber will lie 

FIG. 28. 

straight, else the weight of the pile, which should tend to 
make the pieces dry straight, will have the opposite effect 
and make them permanently crooked. There are other ways 
of arranging wood for drying, but this method is common 
and illustrates the most important principles. Stock is 
sometimes stacked upright, and small pieces are occasionally 
hung up for such nice work as billiard cues and bows. 

Seasoned wood is lighter in weight than green, dryer to 
the touch, usually has a different odour, cuts differently when 
you whittle it (and the piece you whittle off breaks differ- 
ently), and it shows a difference when you saw it. It is 
impossible to define these differences and you will have to 
learn them by actual work. It is not always easy even for 

40 Wood-Working for Beginners 

an experienced person to tell with certainty about some 
pieces until he has " worked " them, so much do the charac- 
teristics of different pieces vary. One test is to rap the 
boards sharply with a hammer. A green board and a dry one 
of the same kind will " rap " differently, that is, will have 
a different vibration and give out a different sound. Of 
course this cannot be described, but you can judge quite 
well in this way. It is one of the many things you can learn 
only by experience. You can ascertain much about the 
character and condition of lumber by sawing or planing or 
whittling a piece. This is a good test for dryness, toughness, 
and elasticity (which you can tell about by breaking the 

Weather-dried timber is usually somewhat darkened from 
exposure, but kiln-drying lightens the colour of some woods. 

Stock with a bright lustrous appearance and of dark hue is 
generally superior to that of a lighter colour and duller 
appearance, but such characteristics depend much upon 
the kind of wood. Green wood is tougher than seasoned 
wood, but the latter is more elastic. To subject seasoned 
wood to moisture and heat brings it back, to a certain ex- 
tent, to its original condition, and renders it for the time 
being tougher, hence the process of bending wood by the 
application of steam or hot water (see Bending in Part V.). 

Reject " wany " lumber, or that of which the edges or 
corners have not been squared (Fig. 18), and also boards and 
planks which have not been sawed to a uniform thickness. 
It is not uncommon for a board to be considerably thinner 
than it should be in some part of its length, due to irregular- 
ity in sawing. 

For plain work avoid " cross-grained " stock, as well as 
that having knots (which are sometimes " tight " and some- 
times " loose "), as it is harder to work and to smooth, is not 

Wood 41 

as strong, and does not hold its shape as well, as a rule. 
Sometimes it is desirable, however, on account of the beauti- 
ful figure of the grain shown in many crooked-grained pieces, 
as in mahogany for furniture (see Appendix). Bear in mind 
that when especial strength is required rift stock is best. 
Reject wood which smells musty, or has rusty-looking spots, 

FIG. 29. 

which are signs of decay, or of the attack of fungi, which may 
spread and under favourable conditions attack other pieces 
which are sound (see Appendix). 

Reject crooked stock. The worst form is rvinding or 
twisting. Of course no one would take such an extreme 
case as Fig. 29, unless for some very rough work, but even 
a very slight winding may make much trouble in your nice 
work. So look particularly for this defect, which you can 
often detect at once by the eye, but if your eye is not well 
trained use winding-sticks (see Part V.). Warped or curled 
stock, with the surface rounded or hollowed (Fig. 19), is also 
bad, but you will need no instructions to detect this defect 

FIG. 30. 

by the eye or any straight stick. When boards are rounding 
on one side and hollowing on the other, it is due either to 
the way the log was sawed, as we have seen, or to one side 
having been more exposed and so having dried faster and 
shrunk faster than the other, causing that side to be concave, 
while the other became convex. Stock is sometimes crooked 

42 Wood-Working for Beginners 

lengthways, either a simple bending in a curve or at an 
angle, or wavy (Fig. 30), or both, often due to careless 
"sticking" (Fig. 28) while the wood was green. Sighting 
lengthways will of course show these defects. 

Reject stock badly checked at the ends, or cracked. There 
is apt to be more or less of this in most lumber. In season- 
ing, the pieces dry faster on the outside than in the middle, 
which causes checks or cracks, usually worse at the ends of 
the pieces, where the drying takes place most rapidly. The 
ends of valuable boards and planks are sometimes painted or 
cleated, which in a measure prevents this result. Occasion- 
ally, when the cleat is removed a crack will suddenly extend 
and even split the board. 

Do not take a cracked or partly split board, thinking that 
you can use the sound end from the point where the crack 
appears to stop. Possibly you can, but oftentimes and in 
some kinds of wood it is impossible to tell before the stock 
is cut where the cracks end. In mahogany, for example, 
they sometimes are found to extend, or develop, several feet 
beyond where they appear to stop. Sometimes you can 
buy wood with such defects at a discount. Unless you are 
sure, however, that there is enough sound, clear wood out- 
side of the cracks or knots, and unless the discount is pretty 
large, it will usually be better to buy clear, sound stock for 
nice work, as the waste is very apt to offset the saving, not 
to speak of the extra time and labour it takes to work up 
such material. (See Shakes in Appendix.) 

Reject sapwood as far as possible, because it is usually 
inferior to the heartwood. 

In the case of elm and young ash the sapwood is, however, 
superior to the heart. The heartwood is usually harder and more 
durable than the sapwood, heavier, of better texture, and com- 
monly of better colour. 

Wood 43 

" The sapwood is, as a rule, darker in the whitewood class 
than the heartvvood, whether seasoned or unseasoned, but is paler 
in colour in most hardwood trees which have had time to season. 
In some of the white, or softer woods, when fresh cut, the differ- 
ence is scarcely perceptible ; but exposure to the air quickly gives 
to the outer layers a greenish tinge, due to a species of mould 
fungi which attack them." LASLETT and WARD. (See also 

When buying, do not take boards just as they happen to 
come from the pile. Select them yourself. Most good- 
natured dealers will let you do this if you do not expect 
them to unstack a whole pile just for one or two boards. It 
is better to do this for nice work even if a slight charge 
should be made for the privilege. When you come to pick 
out boards you will see the application of what has been 
said about the ways of cutting the log, and you can tell 
by the annual rings at the ends of the boards, by the 
sapwood (when visible), the grain, etc., from what part of 
the log the pieces were sawed. 

Use good, clear stock for everything but rough work. Of 
course in rough or temporary work you can save expense by 
using wood from packing-cases, boxes, old fence-rails, or 
anything that will serve the purpose, but as a rule avoid try- 
ing to make nice, new things of wood taken from old work 
or boxes. The quality of the wood used for boxes nowa- 
days is apt to be poor and hard to work. The wood taken 
from old cabinet-work is, however, often better than you are 
likely to buy, but you need to be very cautious about working 
over old material, for the dirt which has been ground into it 
is apt to dull your tools, and, moreover, the presence of con- 
cealed nails, etc. (which it is sometimes almost impossible to 
detect), will often injure your tools so much as to more than 
offset what you save in expense, 

44 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Do not buy thick stock with the idea of sawing it into 
thinner pieces (unless necessary). Of course it can be sawed 
into thinner or smaller pieces, but you cannot always be sure 
that these will be as true as the original stock. Suddenly 
exposing the middle of a piece of wood to the air in this way 
sometimes plays queer pranks with the shape of the pieces 
(see Appendix). If you want to use boards for good work 
buy those which have seasoned as boards, instead of splitting 
up thicker lumber ; and always try to treat both sides of 
a board alike so far as you can. 

Bear this in mind: If you take an inch board to the mill 
to be planed down to three eighths of an inch, for instance, 
have it planed equally, as nearly as may be, from both sides. 
Ignorant hands often simply smooth off, or " surface," one 
side, and then plane the board down on the other side, when 
it will sometimes warp badly at once and be useless, perhaps, 
for the purpose intended. 

If you carefully pile and " stick " the stock you have 
bought (Fig. 28), it will tend to keep the pieces straight and 
true. Never lay good boards down flat directly upon one 
another unless they are thoroughly seasoned. It is the best 
of all ways, however, to keep a pile of thoroughly seasoned 
stock, but not the way to season it. The top board will 
warp. Never lay a single board of nice stock flat on its side. 
Keep short pieces of nice stock standing on end where they 
will be equally exposed on both sides to heat and cold, 
moisture and dryness. 

The best way to learn about any kind of wood is from the 
wood itself. It is a capital idea to make a collection of 
specimens of as many kinds as you can.' You will be sur- 

1 The forests of North America, exclusive of Mexico, are now believed, ac- 
cording to Sargent, to contain four hundred and twenty-two species of plants, 
besides numerous varieties, which can fairly be considered trees. 

Wood 45 

prised to see how varied, interesting, and handsome a collec- 
tion you can make at little or no expense. (See Appendix.) 
The kinds of wood which you are likely to use are 
commonly known as either hard or soft, the former class 
from trees with broad leaves, as the oak, the latter from the 
coniferous or needle-leaved trees, as the white pine. This dis- 
tinction between hard and soft wood you may find somewhat 
puzzling at first, for the common whitewood of the hardwood 
class you will find softer and easier to work than hard pine of 
the softwood class, but the distinction is based on botanical 
reasons. The hard woods are usually more durable as well 
as stronger than the soft. For various woods see Appendix. 

Timber. The word timber is applied in a general way to the 
log and to the material itself, and to the standing trees. It is also 
applied more specifically to the larger squared pieces, or " dimen- 
sion " stock, such as sills, beams, etc. 

Lumber. As the term is used in the United States, lumber 
consists, according to Webster, of " timber sawed or split for use, 
as beams, joists, boards, planks, staves, hoops, and the like." 

Lumber may be either undressed or dressed, that is, rough 
(as it comes from the saw) or planed. It is usually sawed in 
regular thicknesses, and for stock which is in steady demand, 
such as joists, floor timbers, etc., in regular widths, as 2 " x 
4," 4 " x 6 ", etc. It is commonly sold in lengths varying 
from 10 feet to 20 feet. Twelve feet is a common length for 
boards. Planing (by machine) rough or undressed boards on 
both sides will usually reduce the thickness of an inch board 
to about seven eighths of an inch. Other thicknesses will of 
course be reduced correspondingly. Bear this in mind. The 
terms I " board, 2 " plank, etc., apply, as a rule, to the stock 
in the rough state as it comes from the saw. When you buy 
planed or dressed lumber it will be thinner that is, the 

4 6 

Wood- Working for Beginners 

" inch board " that you wish to get for a shelf will not be one 
inch thick (unless you get it unplaned), but seven eighths of 
an inch. 

FIG. 31. 

You must make allowance for this when you figure on dressed 
lumber. If for example the board must be one inch thick when 

planed, you will have 
to get a thin plank 
and have it planed 
down, or pull over 
the pile until you find 
a board which hap- 
pens to be sawed as 
thick as one inch and 
one eighth. You can 
sometimes find 
boards planed one 
inch thick, but as a 
rule you will find 
the thickness seven eighths of an inch. A similar statement 
will apply to the various thicknesses of planks also. The sawing 
is often very irregular, however, and frequently some boards or 
planks will run thick enough in sawing to give the required thick- 
ness when planed, so it is well to look for such when you need 
pieces a little thicker than planed stock usually runs. 

For such work as you are likely to do you will chiefly need 
boards, planks, and joists. Other forms will be referred to 
farther on. 

Boards. These are one inch thick or less. 

Matched-boards, or " sheathing," have a groove on one edge and 
a corresponding tongue on the other (Fig. 31.) Any number of 
boards can thus be joined to make a wide surface. The edges 
of these boards were formerly tongued and grooved by hand 



with " matching-planes," but now this is done by machine, 
usually with some form of bead or moulding at one edge (and 
sometimes in the middle) to render the joint less noticeable. 

Planks. These are thick boards, more than one inch in 
thickness. Both planks and boards can be of any width or length, 
the distinction being merely in thickness. 

Joists. These are the same as narrow planks, but of some 

FIG. 33. 

fixed width, as 2 * by 3 *, which is the same as a 3 " strip sawed 
from the edge of a 2 " plank. 

Most of the lumber you will require is sold by the square 
foot, at so much an M (1000 feet), or so much a foot. The 
square foot has an area of 144 square 
inches and is one inch thick, or contains 
144 cubic inches, regardless of the shape 
or size of the piece. That is, Figs. 32, 
33, and 34 each equal one square foot 
by board measure. 

Thus a board 12' long, 12" wide, and i" thick, contains 12 feet, 
board measure. A board 12' long, 6" wide, and i" thick, con- 
tains 6 feet. A plank 12' long, 12" wide, and 2" thick, contains 
24 feet. A plank 12' long, 6" wide, and 2" thick, contains 12 
feet, or the same as the board first mentioned. You can bear in 
mind that in case of boards 12' long the contents in feet is indi- 
cated by the width in inches, as you will see from the examples 

48 Wood- Working for Beginners 

just given. A board 12' long and 7* wide contains 7 square feet. 
So all you have to do to measure 12' stock is to find the width in 
inches. If the board tapers in width, measure at the middle. 
The same is true of planks, only the width in inches must be 
multiplied by the thickness of the plank. A plank 12' long, 7" 
wide, and 3* thick, contains 21 square feet. Of course this prin- 
ciple can be quickly applied to pieces whose length is any conven- 
ient multiple or fraction of twelve. Thus a board 18' long, 
8" wide, and i" thick, contains i\ times as many square feet as 
one 12' long, or 12 feet. A plank 9' long, 6" wide, and 2" thick, 
contains f as many square feet as if 12' long, or 9 square feet. 

Boards less than one inch thick are usually sold by the 
square foot of surface, regardless of thickness the price 
varying according to the thickness, except in cases where 
an inch board is planed down, when, of course, inch thick- 
ness is charged for. There is no distinction made in measur- 
ing between a rough board i" thick and a planed board |", 
as, of course, they represent the same amount of lumber. 
The cost by the foot of the planed board is greater because 
of the expense of planing. In cities, and sometimes in the 
larger towns, you can find thin boards (", f", ", T 3 T ", " 
thick) already planed, and even scraped, for nice work. 

Some of the rarer and less commonly used woods are often sold 
by the pound, as ebony, leopard wood, tulip wood, etc. Pieces 
turned out in quantities for special uses, as strips, mouldings, 
etc., are often sold by the " running foot," meaning simply the 
length, the price varying according to the amount of lumber and 
labour required. Certain regular sizes and shapes of lumber are 
sold by the hundred or by the piece. Shingles, clapboards, 
laths, and the like, are sold in bunches or bundles. 

For other matters relating to wood, see Appendix. 



Working Drawings. A simple drawing will often give 
you a better idea of an object than you can get from any de- 
scription in words, for drawing is not only a very ancient 
form of language but one readily understood by people of 
all countries and all times. It is one of the chief tools of a 
workman in these days, so of course the quicker you be- 
come familiar with it the better, for the day for " rule-of- 
thumb " work and feeling one's way along step by step 
is fast giving way to the guidance of the working drawing, 
which shows one not only exactly what is to be made but 
exactly how to make it. 

When you wish to make some particular thing, you should 
begin by making rough sketches to -express your idea, and 
from them an accurate working drawing in which every de- 
tail and measurement is clearly given. Make all your work- 
ing drawings carefully to scale (see Appendix), and whenever 
you can, make them full size. Do not guess at the height, 
width, and length, but measure, and measure very carefully. 
Never mind if it takes time. Learn first to do it right, and 
practice will soon teach you to do it more quickly. 

The time to make changes in your plans is when you are 
making the drawings particularly the rough preparatory 
sketches. Making the drawings will, if you make them com- 
plete and accurate, show you what you know and what you 


50 Wood-Working for Beginners 

do not know about the subject. The working drawing should 
be complete and final. 

Begin the making of sketches and detailed drawings with 
the first article you make, no matter how simple it may be. 
You can go about the work with confidence, which goes 
a long way toward success, when you know that you have 
thought it out to the end and have it all done on paper. 
For practical suggestions about working drawings, see Ap- 

Laying out the Work. Try to get the measurements 
and lines exact, and do not be satisfied with coming within 
an eighth of an inch. You cannot do good work unless it is 
laid out right, and cutting exactly to a line will do no good 
if the line is in the wrong place. It makes no difference 
how accurately you saw off a board if you have marked 
it half an inch too short, nor how nicely you make the two 
parts of a joint if you have laid them out so that they can 
not fit together. The work is spoiled in either case. 

Go over all your measurements a second time. It is a 
good plan to check them by measuring back in the opposite 
direction, just as you prove your addition of a column of 
figures downward by adding again upward. Nothing is 
easier than to make mistakes in measuring. No amount of 
experience will prevent the chance of it. It takes but little 
time to measure twice, much less time than to correct mis- 
takes as you will discover when you cut off a mahogany 
board five inches too short and have to go half a mile to the 
mill and pay a dollar or two for a new piece. 

In getting out stock for nice work it is best to make plenty 
of allowance for the pranks which expansion and contraction 
may play with the pieces (see Appendix). How to arrange 
the various parts of your work with regard to this swelling 
and shrinking, warping and winding, is a matter of practical 

Laying Out the Work 5 1 

importance, for a piece of wood can no more keep still than 
an active boy can, and, although its movements do not cause 
so widespread havoc as the motions of some boys, you will 
have to keep a careful eye on its actions if you wish to turn 
out good work. 

This applies not merely to the way green wood shrinks, 
as we have already seen, but particularly to the way seasoned 
wood acts. Many people think it is only green wood that 
causes trouble with wood-work, but there is much difficulty 
with dry wood that is, what we call dry wood. It never is 
really absolutely dry, except when it is baked, and kept 
baked (see Appendix). The moment you take it out of 
the kiln or oven, it begins to take up some of the moisture 
from the air, as we have seen, and swells. If the air be- 
comes more damp, the wood sucks in more moisture and 
swells more. If the air becomes dryer, it sucks some mois- 
ture from the wood, and the wood becomes dryer and 
shrinks. It is thus continually swelling and shrinking, ex- 
cept in situations where the amount of moisture in the air 
does not change, or when the wood is completely water- 

" What does such a little thing as that swelling and shrink- 
ing amount to? Use more nails or screws or glue and hold 
it so tight it cannot move." Well, it amounts to a good 
deal sometimes when you cannot open the drawer where 
your ball is, or a door or a window, without breaking 

In the days of high-backed church pews with tall doors to 
every pew, each pew door would swell in damp weather, of 
course, and in continued dampness the doors of a certain church 
fitted quite snugly. There was usually no special trouble, how- 
ever, for, many of the doors being open, the pew frames would 
give way a little so that the closed doors would open with a slight 

52 Wood-Working for Beginners 

pull ; but if all the doors were shut the whole line would be so 
tightly pressed together that it would take the utmost strength of 
a man to start a door. Some boys one day catching on to this 
idea (though they were not studying wood-work), got into the 
church one Sunday morning before service and by using their 
combined strength succeeded in closing every door. They then 
climbed over the top into their own pew, where they awaited de- 
velopments, as one after another sedate churchgoer, after a pro- 
tracted struggle, finally burst open his pew door with a ripping 
squeak or a bang. You will understand that those boys always 
remembered the expanding power of wood. I feel sure that I 
am not putting any boys up to improper mischief in telling this 
story, because pews are not so often made in that way now, and 
there is slight danger of their having any chance to try it. 

Did you ever see stone-workers split big rocks by drilling 
a row of holes and driving dry wedges into them and then 
wetting the wedges, when the stone will split? 1 Do you 
think nails or screws or glue will stop a force which will do 
that ? You cannot prevent the swelling and the shrinking any 
more than you can repress a boy's animal spirits. You may 
be able to crush the wood, but so long as it remains a sound, 
natural board it must swell and shrink. 

What shall you do then ? Why just the same as with the 
boy ; give it a reasonable amount of play, and a proper 
amount of guidance, and there will be no trouble. You 
must put your work together so as to allow for the expan- 
sion and contraction which you cannot prevent. You will 
find abundant examples, in almost every house, of work 

1 The peculiarity of the wood is that the water is not simply drawn in to 
fill up what we call the pores, as in chalk or any ordinary porous inorganic 
substance, but enters into the very fibre of the body, forcing apart the minute 
solid particles with an extraordinary force which does not seem to be fully un- 

Laying Out the Work .53 

which has split or come apart or warped because proper 
allowance was not made for this swelling and shrinking. So 
try to avoid these errors so common even among workmen 
who should know better. 

For instance, if you were to put cleats on one side of a 
drawing-board three feet wide, and were to firmly glue the 
cleats for their whole 
length (Fig. 35), you 
sometimes see such 
things done, you would 
probably not have to wait 
many weeks before you 
would hear a report like 
a toy pistol, and the cleats 
would be loosened for at 
least part of their length, 

because of the expansion or contraction of the board. 
Similar cases are continually occurring. In such cases 
the cleats should be screwed, the screws having play 
enough in their holes to allow for the changes in the board 
(see Appendix). 

You must also make plenty of allowance for planing down 
edges and surfaces and for the wood wasted by sawing. No 
rule can be set for these allowances. If you do not leave 
enough spare wood, the pieces will finally come out too 
small. If you leave too much you will increase the amount 
of planing or shaping to be done, but of the two extremes it 
is better to err on the side of allowing too much. 

A rod (any straight stick), say six feet long, and another 
ten or twelve feet long, with feet and inches marked, are very 
handy to have when laying out work roughly, or for measur- 
ing outdoor work approximately. 

Lay out your work from only one edge or one surface 

54 Wood- Working for Beginners 

of a piece of lumber unless you are sure the edges or surfaces 
are exactly parallel. Having selected the best edge for a 
" working edge" and the best surface for the " face," mark 
them with an X or other mark to avoid mistakes (Fig. 36). 
This is quite important in laying out a number of pieces, as 
before the stock is accurately worked into shape you cannot 
usually rely on the edges being parallel. One mark like a 
V as shown in Fig. 36 will indicate both the working edge 
and the face. 

Estimating. You must, of course, learn to make your 
estimates yourself, often a very important preliminary. 


FIG. 36. 

Prices vary, and you cannot always rely on other people's 
estimates for your own work. It is a matter of simple 
arithmetic and of making correct allowance for waste and 

You can always get the prices easily. Figure the amount 
of wood required, the number of square feet (see page 47) 
of each kind, or running feet, as the case may be, and multi- 
ply by the price a foot ; but after this comes the allowance 
for waste, etc., which cannot usually be figured exactly, but 
must be estimated. 

For instance, if you wish to make a double-runner, with a seat 
ten feet long, the board from which to make it will very likely be 
twelve feet long, in which case you must, of course, buy the 
whole board. Perhaps you can use the two feet left over some- 
where else on the sled, perhaps part may be checked or injured. 

Estimating 55 

There is almost always some defective wood (worthless, 
except for fuel) ; some pieces are too short or small to be of 
use ; and very often some quite good-sized pieces are left 
over, which, so far as the particular job is concerned, are 
waste, that is, you must buy them in order to get enough. 
Such pieces can be used on other work, and are not really 
wasted in the end. 

Just how much to add to the number of feet to cover 
waste varies, of course, with every job. Some people add a 
fixed per cent, to their measurements or calculations, which, 
although not exactly correct for any one job, strikes an 
average for a good many. It would not be easy to state any 
such per cent, for the varied work you will do, but the main 
thing to bear in mind is that you must make a liberal al- 
lowance. Just so with the other materials. Remember to 
allow for waste and for unforeseen extras. Even with ex- 
perienced people things are very apt to cost more than the 

Make a neat schedule to take to the lumber-yard or mill, 
specifying the kinds and dimensions of the stock required. 



IF you have a place where you can build a workshop you 
will find one described in Part III. If not, try to find a 
well-lighted shop, both on account of your eyes and your 
work ; one that is dry, or your tools will rust and your work 
be injured ; and one that can be heated, for there will be no 
time you will wish to use it more than on cold, stormy days. 

As a rule, an outbuilding is better than a basement or 
attic, other things being equal, because a basement is liable 
to be damp and dark, and an attic is bad about carrying ma- 
terials and finished work up- and down-stairs. Noise in the 
top story of a house is usually more disturbing to the occu- 
pants than noise in the basement ; but all these conditions 
vary in different places. 

Have a lock on the door of your workshop, partly to keep 
small children from getting cut if they should come in with- 
out leave, and partly to prevent your work being interfered 
with in your absence and the edge-tools used for various 
domestic purposes by your feminine relatives, who might, in 
their innocence, mistake your best gouge for a tack-puller or 
the quarter-inch chisel for a screw-driver. 

Of course you will have overalls and jumper or a work- 
man's apron made of denim, ticking, or some strong cloth. 
If you use an apron, have a pocket in it. A small slip of a 
pocket on the outside seam of your overalls above the right 
knee is also useful for holding a rule. When you have a 


The Workshop 


long job of dirty work before you, a good way i to change 
your clothes for any " old duds" that you may have. This 
saves your clothes, and in warm weather is more comfort- 
able and healthful than to wear overalls. 

Your shop can be all fitted up for you by a carpenter, but 
it will be better, and better fun, to do it yourself. After 
the workshop itself is ready the first important thing is the 

The Work-Bench. A very simple one (Fig. 37) will 
answer your purpose for a long time. When you become a 

FIG. 37. 

pretty good workman and feel the need of something better 
(for a first-class bench with the best attachments is really a 
great help toward doing good work), you will still find this 
first simple affair very useful in some part of your shop. 1 
There is no need of a bench being made of stock of exactly the 
dimensions given, so if you have a pile of boards and joists 
to draw from without buying, you can, of course, substitute 
other-sized pieces, provided you use stock heavy enough 

1 If you can afford to buy one ready made, you cannot do better than to 
begin with such as are sold for sloyd or manual-training schools, but do not 
get a very small one unless you are only going to do very small work. Get one 
as large as you can afford. A second-hand bench can often be bought for a 
small sum, but be sure that it is firm and steady. 

58 Wood- Working for Beginners 

to make a firm bench. Heavier legs and top (front board) 
would be better, and in fact there is little danger of making a 
bench too solid. 

Before beginning to work read carefully Marking, Square, 
Rule, Saw, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

The design is for a small bench, 5' 10" long, 2' wide, and 2' 
6" high. A larger one can be made on the same principle. ' 
You will require for stock : 

i piece of 3" X 4" joist 10' long. 

i board, -J* thick, planed, 12" wide, 12' long. 

i " " " " 10' " 12' " 

i " " " " 10*. " 6' " 

i plank, i^" or 2" thick, planed, 5' or 6" wide, 2' 9* long. 

i strip, |* to -J* thick, 3" or 4* wide, 15* long. 

Pine is good, and almost any cheap wood can be used. Hem- 
lock is not very suitable, unless for the legs. Spruce is cheaper 
than pine or whitewood, and can be used for economy, but is 
prone to warp and twist and should be thoroughly nailed. 

First make the legs and fasten them together. To do this, 

1 The reason for making this bench 5' 10" long, instead of cutting a 12' 
board into two lengths of 6' each, is that it is hard to get boards sound and 
square at the ends, and so it is best to allow a few inches for waste. Of 
course your bench can be of any desired length. Six or eight feet is suitable 
for ordinary work, but there is no objection to making it as much longer as 
your space and material will admit. The height should bear a proper relation 
to the height of the workman. No definite height can be given. Try moving 
a plane back and forth. If your right elbow, when holding the plane, is 
slightly bent and your back about straight, the height will be not far from 
right. Do a little simple work at a table, trying different heights, and you can 
soon tell what will be satisfactory. If the bench is too low, you cannot 
manage your work well and your back will get tired from bending over, not to 
speak of becoming round-shouldered. If the bench is too high, it will be hard 
to manage your work, you cannot plane well, and your arms will be tired 
from holding them up unnaturally high. A bench for heavy work like 
carpentry is usually rather lower than one for cabinet- or pattern-making, 
while a carver's bench is usually higher. 

The Workshop 


take the joist and lay it on two boxes or old chairs (Fig. 38), 
which you can use temporarily for horses, until you make a 
pair. See whether either end is cut off squarely. If neither is, 
mark a line by the square a short distance (perhaps half an inch, 
according to the condition of the end of the joist) from one 

FIG. 38. 

end, on one side of the joist. Carry this line around the joist by 
applying the square to each side successively, and saw off the 
waste end with the cross-cutting saw. Having one end square, 
measure from that end 2' 5* and mark a line around the joist as 
before. Saw this piece off, and using it as a measure (but not as 
a square), mark and saw off three more pieces. These are for 
the legs. 

Next, from the short 10" board, mark and cut off two pieces 

FIG. 39. 

i' 10^" long in the same manner (Fig. 39), seeing first that 
the end from which you begin to measure is square. You do not 
need to mark the under side of the boards, but only the top and 
the edges. Now square a line i* from each end of each of these 
3hort boards, and start three nails on each of the lines by driving 


Wood- Working for Beginners 

them nearly through the board (Fig. 40). (See Nailing.} Next, 
place the end of one of these boards on the narrow side of one 

FIG. 40. 

FIG. 41. 

of the legs, and, holding it firmly in position, nail it securely to 
the leg. You must take pains to keep the leg and the cross- 
piece " square." Nail only one nail first and 
then adjust, testing with the try-square before 
driving the other nails (Fig. 41). Then nail 
the other end to another leg, and repeat the 
process with the other board and the remain- 
ing legs. This will give two frames like 
Fig. 42. 

Next, fasten the sides to the legs. Take 
the io* board and mark and saw off two 
FIG. 42. pieces 5' 10" long in the same way as be- 

fore (Fig. 43). At distances of 7" and 12" from each end of 
each board, mark lines across the side with the square and start 

FIG. 43. 

nails between these lines (Fig. 44). Then, fitting these lines at 
the outside edges of the legs, nail the sides securely to the legs, 

The Workshop 


as shown in Fig. 45. But drive only one nail through into each 
leg at first, until you are sure that the frame is coming together 
square and true throughout. Test the angles with the square. 

FIG. 44. 

Stand the frame on as level a surface as you can find and sight 
across the top endways and crossways to see if either corner 

FIG. 45. 

sticks up or down. If the top is not true, twist the frame enough 
to make it so, which you can easily do if you have but one nail 

62 Wood-Working for Beginners 

in each corner. When the top is true and the legs at right 
angles, drive in the rest of the nails (Fig. 45). Be sure to test the 
top for winding, as just said (see Part V.), rather than to trust 
to the way the legs stand on the floor. Floors are often uneven, 
and the legs may not be cut exactly the same length. Make 
the top true and the legs can easily be made to fit the floor after- 
wards. The piece of 10" board left 
over you can fit to slip in between 
the sides, as in Fig. 45. If you nail 
through the sides and top into this 
piece, it will stiffen the bench. In 

FIG. 46. 

FIG. 47. 

FIG. 48. 

making a long bench after this pattern, it is well to insert a few 
pieces of plank or joist between the sides in this manner. 

Next, put on the top. Cut two lengths of 5' 10" from the 12" 
board. Lay them in position, square lines across as guides 
for the nails (as before), and nail them down to the legs and 
cross-boards. Also drive carefully a few nails at the edge 
down into the sides of the bench. Sink all the nail-heads 
well below the surface (as much as ^") with the nail-set (see 
Nail- Set}. 

A better bench can be made by using a plank (say a 2" 
plank, planed) for the front of the top (Figs. 46, 47, 48). This 
bench with plank front is much better than the common 
carpenter's bench just described, and the difference in ex- 

The Workshop 63 

pense is but slight. It is easier to do good work on, as it is 
stiffer, steadier, and much better to pound on. 

Of course a thicker plank can be used if available. Hard 
wood is best. Maple is excellent for a bench-top. Take par- 
ticular care to select a good sound plank, from the centre of the 
tree if you can (see Chapter III.), as straight and free from wind- 
ing as possible, and have it planed so as to be straight and true. 
This can easily be done at any properly equipped planing-mill. 

To make this bench with a plank in front, you can proceed 
exactly as with the bench just described, except that the front 
legs should be as much shorter than those at the back as the 
plank you have is thicker than the %" board used for the top 
of the bench just described. That is, if your plank is i-J" thick 
the front legs should be i" shorter than the back ones. Pieces 
must be cut out of the cross-boards in order that the top may be 
even (Fig. 46). 

The simplest way, however, is to make the bench just like the 
preceding one until you come to the top. Then, after putting 
on the front plank, raise the back top-board to be flush with the 
plank, instead of lowering the plank to be flush with the board. 
You can do this by putting small pieces of board of the required 
thickness under the back part of the top (Fig. 47). 

Some workmen prefer having the back board of the bench top 
lower than the front by an inch or so, with a strip fastened on 
the back, and sometimes at each end, so as to be level with the 
top of the front plank, thus forming a sort of tray (Fig. 48) 
where tools, nails, small bits of work, etc., can remain when in 
use, keeping the front plank clear for the actual operations. 
The work, if large, can be rested on the back strip as well as 
the front part, both being on a level. 

The bench can be all filled up underneath with shelves, 
drawers, cupboards, compartments, or in any way that you 
wish, but at first, and for a simple bench like this, it is as well 
to have only one shelf, as shown in the frontispiece. You can 

64 Wood-Working for Beginners 

easily put this shelf in after the bench is put together. You can 
tell better whether you want drawers and compartments after 
you have worked for some time and wish to make a more com- 
plete bench. 

A nice bench should, of course, be built independently of 
the shop, that is, be complete in itself, so that it can be 
readily moved. But a common bench can sometimes be 

FIG. 49. 

best built against the wall, using the side of the building to 
support the back. Sometimes one or both of the ends 
of the bench can be advantageously carried to the walls 
of the room, thus requiring legs only in the middle or at 
one end. But such arrangements are not to be advised if you 
are likely to wish to move the bench before you have used 
it enough to pay for making it. 

Figure 49 is merely suggestive. The process of construction is 
the same as already shown, except that you omit some of the legs 
and the back side-board, a saving sufficient to allow you to use a 
plank for the front of the top. As the floor is likely to be uneven, 
you can first saw the posts a little too long, stand them in line, 
stretch a cord or a chalk-line (see Chalk- Line) along the line of 
the front edge of the bench at the proper height for the tops of 

The Workshop 65 

the posts, cut the posts off where this line crosses them, nail on one 
end of the cross-boards at right angles, and then fasten the other 
end to the wall-studding, sighting and testing to have the top 
straight and true, as in the case of the bench already described. 
If instead of vertical studding the joists of the wall run horizontally 

FIG. 50. 

(as is often the case), you can easily nail cleats on the wall if there 
is no horizontal timber at the right height to nail to. 

Bench-Vise. The kinds shown in Figs. 50, 56, 57, though 
not as good as some more improved forms, are in common 
use by carpenters, and will answer your purpose very well 
for ordinary work until you get to the point of building a 
first-class bench. 


Wood- Working for Beginners 

At a distance of about 14 " from the end of the bench and in 
the middle of the side board mark the point a (Fig. 45). Bore a 
hole at this point (see Boring] if you have a bit a trifle larger 
than the screw of the vise. If not, using this point as a centre, 
describe a circle (see Compasses) with a diameter a trifle greater 
than that of the vise screw, and remove the wood within the 
circle (see Boring and Paring^) Now take the piece of \\" or 

2 * plank which is to make the 

/- --9-~-yy movable jaw of the vise, and mark a 

line lengthways along the centre of 
FIG. 51. each side (Fig. 51). At a distance 

of about 8 " from one end mark a 
point upon this centre line and make 
a hole for the vise screw as before. 
The nut for the screw must now be 
fastened in position on the inner side 
of the bench, the vise screw passed 
through the movable jaw and the 
side board, and the handle plate 
fastened upon the face of the jaw. 
FIG. 52. You can now open and close 

the vise by the screw, but the mov- 
able jaw needs to be made steady and the end projects above 
the top of the bench. Screw the vise tight together and slide the 
movable jaw around until it is in the position shown in Fig. 52, 
when the centre line on the back side of the jaw will cross the 
edge of the leg a few inches from the floor, according to the width 
of the jaw and the degree of slant given it. When the jaw is in 
this position, mark from the back side the lines indicated in Fig. 
52, and saw off the projecting ends of the jaw by these lines, which 
will give the shape shown in Figs. 37 and 50. 

Next take the small strip, and marking points upon its side as 
shown in Fig. 53, bore holes with a f* or \" bit. Screw the end 
of the strip to the edge of the movable jaw (being careful to get 
it at right angles with the vertical edge of the jaw), as shown in 

The Workshop 

Figs. 50 and 53 (see Screws). 
strip crosses the post of the 
thicker than the strip) so 
that it will pass easily be- 
tween them. Cover these 
with a longer piece, making 
a slot, as shown in Fig. 53, 
through which the strip can 
slide freely. If the two 

Just above and below where this 
bench nail small blocks (a trifle 

FIG. 53. 

FIG. 54. RIGHT. FIG. 55. WRONG. 

blocks are no thicker than the strip, you can put pieces of paste- 
board between them and the post to make the slot wide enough to 
let the strip slide through freely. Fit a pin or 
piece of dowel to the holes in the strip. The use 
of these holes and the pin is to keep the face of 
the jaw approximately parallel to the side of the 
bench. Contrivances for this purpose can be 
bought. After the jaw is all fitted, bevel or 
round the edge on the face side at the top (see 
Bevelling], and you can also bevel or round 
all the front edges if you wish. The vise is 
now in working order. 1 

FIG. 56. 

1 This vise is fitted slanting, so that the slide at the bottom comes on the 
outside of the leg and at the same time in the centre line of the movable jaw in 
line with the screw, A common form has the movable jaw upright, the sliding 

Wood- Working for Beginners 

The important point with this vise (and in fact with any vise) 
is to have the inside surface of the jaw parallel with the surface 
of the side of the bench, so that the wood will be pressed equally 
at all points, else it will slip just when you wish it to be securely 

FIG. 59. 

FIG. 58. 

held. Be sure that the vise is not open more at the top than at 
the bottom (see Figs. 54 and 55). 

The holes bored in the side of the bench are to support the 
end of a long board (Fig. 50). 

If you cannot afford to buy a vise, or have to work where there 
is none, there are a number of makeshifts with which you can 
get along quite well, though not as rapidly or conveniently. 

bar being mortised into it and sliding through a mortise cut in the leg, as shown 
in Figs. 56 and 57. If you wish to make this kind, study Alortising, in Part 
V., and lay out and cut the mortise in the leg before nailing the cross-board to 
it (Figs. 41 and 42). This is the most difficult part of the bench to make 
nicely, and you can spend a good deal of pains upon it. If you have not yet 
the proper tools to make this mortise you can mark it out and have it cut for a 
very small sum at a wood-working mill or shop. When nailing the cross-board 
upon the legs, bear in mind to put this leg in the right place. Fig. 58 shows 
a simple arrangement with an additional post, or two posts can be put together 
and one half the notching done in each (Fig. 59). 

The Workshop 


Carpenters often nail a piece on the side of the bench (Fig. 60), 
which holds boards for planing fairly well, for common work, but 
tends to bruise the ends of the boards a little against the cleat, 
and requires a knife, 
or something, driven 
in at the other end of 
the boards to hold 
them with any degree 
of security. Another 
cheap substitute is 

shown in Fig. 61. 

This holds boards of regular sizes quite well. Thin pieces can 

be held tighter by wedging, as shown. 

Another sim- 
ple contrivance, 

and more of a 

vise, is easily 

made by boring 

a couple of 

holesin a board, 

say 6 * wide and 

12" long, and 

screwing it loosely to the side of the bench (Fig. 62), making 

the holes in the board larger than the diameter of the screws so 

that it will be free 
__ to play. By insert- 
ing the piece to be 

FIG. 61. 

FIG. 62. FIG. 63. 

held in the end and double wedging the opposite end (Fig. 63) 


Wood-Working for Beginners 

the piece will be held fairly well (see Wedges). For thin 
boards, blocks can be inserted to make the jaw parallel with 
the side of the bench. An upright vise made on this principle 

x - - ^- is often used to hold saws for filing. 

>^L=__l^g: __!__ IT If you can find an old wooden 

^=-' hand-screw, you can use one jaw 
(sawing off the ends if 
necessary) for the nut 
to go inside of the 
bench, leavingthe other 
for the movable jaw, 
using one screw to 
tighten or loosen the 
FIG. 64. FIG. 65. vise and the other to 

keep the jaw parallel with the side of the bench. You will re- 
quire no description to contrive something of this sort. Vises on 
somewhat this principle can be bought, attachable and detach- 
able at will. 

The jaw in Fig. 64 can be hinged upon the strip at the bottom 
and the latter fastened to the side of the bench. The jaw can 
then be tightened or loosened by the screw. This gives a square 
grip only when the jaw is vertical (Fig. 65). You can put in 
blocks, however. The longer the jaw the less objectionable the 
slanting grip becomes, of course. 

Always try to devise some such expedients, which you can 
think up for yourself, when you are without the regular ap- 
pliances, for even a poor vise is better than to hold pieces in the 
hand or to push them against chairs or tables or the wall. 

For nice work by far the best "vise of -moderate cost is that 
shown in Fig. 143, which has been in use for a long time by 
wood-workers of the better class. 

There are a number of excellent iron vises (some with jaws of 
wood, and also with an " instantaneous grip "). Some of them 
are admirable, but quite costly compared with the common screw. 

The Workshop 71 

You can work quite well with a good-sized common iron vise 
by fitting wooden blocks or leather or rubber to the inside of the 
jaws, to save marring your woodwork, though a regular vise for 
wood is much to be preferred. 

Bear in mind when doing work that requires to be held at 
unusual angles, or in fashioning odd-shaped pieces, that you 
can usually get the angle or position required by a combina- 
tion of hand-screws or clamps with the bench-vise as sug- 
gested in Figs. 66 and 67. 

FIG. 66. FIG. 67. 

Bench-Stop. You must have something on the forward 
end of the bench-top to push your work against for planing 
and other operations. A simple and good way is to use one 
or two stout screws (Fig. 68). These can be screwed in so as 

FIG. 68. FIG. 69. FIG. 70. 

to project about a quarter of an inch, which will answer for 
the greater part of your work, and the height can be changed 
when necessary with the screw-driver, The heads of the 

Wood- Working for Beginners 

screws will be sharp enough to hold the work, and a stop of 
this kind will answer your purpose very well for common 
work. The wooden stop (Fig. 69) has the advantage of not 
making any nicks in the end of the wood, which is important 
in nice work, such as furniture, but for common work screws 
are just as good, except that, as they are left permanently 
sticking from the bench, you may dull your tools against 
them or scar your work. This applies to a common bench. 
Of course for a really nice bench with a tail-screw the regular 
stops should be used (Fig. 143). 

Carpenters sometimes nail a small piece of board, with a 
V-shaped notch at one end, to the top of the bench to hold boards 
or joist for planing on the edge (Fig. 70). Sim- 
ply nailing a strip 

FIG. 71. 

FIG. 73. 

across the end of the bench (Fig. 71), and setting the nails well 
in, will do to push boards against for planing for common work. 

Iron contrivances (which can be raised or lowered) can be 
bought for a small sum and are convenient for common work, 
especially for thin pieces. Sink them deeply enough in the bench- 
top so that when lowered nothing will project to injure the tools 
or the work. 

The old-fashioned bench-stop shown in Fig. 69 consists merely 
of a square stick of hard wood, one or two inches square, fitted 
quite tightly to a hole in the top of the bench, so that it will slide 
up or down by a blow from the mallet or hammer. This stop will 
not damage the work or the tools. To make the mortise for this 
bench-stop, see Mortising. Take care to keep within the lines, 
so as not to make the hole too big. You can easily make it larger 
if too small. 

The Workshop 


The stop should fit tightly and should be set with a very slight 
slant toward the work (Fig. 72), that is, the mortise should be 
cut slightly slanting. The stop should be of hard wood, such as 
maple. If the top of the bench is only of board thickness, screw 

FIG. 74. 

cleats of hard wood on the under side to give more bearing sur- 
face (Fig. 73), or the continued pushing against the stop will be 
liable to get the hole out of shape so that the stop will slant the 
wrong way, when the work will be apt to slip or, in case of a thin 
board, jump over the stop (Fig. 74). If the stop wears loose in 
the hole, a saw kerf is sometimes made lengthways in one side 
and a bent piece of springy wire inserted, or 
a flat spring fastened on the side (Fig. 75). 
A loose stop can 
r_^. easily be wedged 

FIG. 75. FIG. 76. FIG. 77. 

(preferably from underneath), and it is sometimes made loose on 
purpose, the wedging tightening the stop and at the same time 
giving the required slant (Fig. 72). An iron plate with teeth can 
be screwed on top of a wooden stop (Fig. 76), or a screw can be 
inserted (Fig. 77). 

Two strips, like Fig. 78, can be nailed or screwed on the top 
of the bench so as to separate V-fashion (Fig. 79). Two wedges, 


Wood- Working for Beginners 

like Fig. 80, can then be made of such a taper that when fitted 
between the strips their inner faces will be parallel. By tapping 
in the wedges on each side of the work to be held (Fig. 79), it 
will be securely fastened without injury. If the 
inside edges of the strips and the outside edges 
of the wedges are slightly bevelled, which you can 
do with a plane or a knife, the wedges cannot 
jump out of place. The best way to fit this con- 
trivance is to make the wedges first, place them in position on the 
bench with the square sides inside (facing each other), and then 
fasten the fixed strips outside of them. Pushing the work tends 
to tighten this vise. This is much better for permanent use than 

FIG. 78. 

FIG. 79. 

the notched board shown in Fig. 70. If you have a good vise 
you will not often have occasion to use such contrivances, but 
they are sometimes useful as makeshifts. 

The top of a good bench should be as true and as smooth 
as possible (see Plane and Scraper). Rub it with linseed oil, 
wipe it off with a rag, and after a few days give 
it a couple of coats of shellac (see Finishing). 

You should place your bench so that when 
you stand at it you will face the light and not 
have it come from behind you. If it can come 
from the forward end of the bench and also from behind the 
bench, as shown in the frontispiece, it will be best, for a 

FIG. 80. 

The Workshop 


cross-light is often very useful, not merely that you may have 
light enough, but also that when testing your work with 
the try-square, straight-edge, and the like, any inaccuracy 
may be detected by the light passing through the crack be- 
tween the testing tool and the work, and also when sighting 
by the eye alone. Fasten the 
bench firmly to the floor (and wall 
if you can) with screws, cleats, or 
L irons. ' 

Avoid chopping on the bench 
top or whittling it or boring holes 
or marring it by saw-cuts or chisel- 
marks. Do not use paint, varnish, 
or glue at the bench if you can 
help it. If necessary to do so, clean 
the bench-top carefully when you 
get through. Lumps of hardened glue will hinder you and 
deface your work. 

Filing-Bench. Yon cannot do much of such varied 
woodwork as you will undertake without having to do a 
good deal of metal work. It is a poor plan to do such work 
at the vise you use for your woodwork, or even at the same 
bench. It scars and defaces the wooden vise and the bench, 
and the particles of metal are bad for your woodwork and 
for the tools. It is much better to have another bench if 
nothing more than a wide shelf or a box for such work 
(Fig. 81). You will find suggestions in the illustrations. 

An iron vise is the proper thing for holding metal. There 
are many different kinds at various prices, but one of the 
simple patterns will probably answer every purpose. If you 

FIG. 81. 

1 In case your bench is in the house and you wish to deaden the sound and 
vibration from your work you can put rubber cushions under the legs. 

7 6 

Wood- Working for Beginners 

have room for only one bench this vise can be put at the 

back part of one end. 

A small vise can be made of a hand-screw, the hand-screw itself 

being held in any desired position in the large bench-vise, but 
metal jaws are better for working on 
metal. You can make a rough sort of 
vise for metal-work with a piece of stout 
board or plank (Fig. 82). Find a couple 
of pieces of iron with screw holes, as you 
can probably do in a pile of waste iron 
junk, and screw them on the board and 

FIG. 83. 

FIG. 84. 

the bench to form metal jaws. The vise can be tightened or 
loosened by means of a big screw or bolt ; or the board can be 
loosely fastened in the middle and tightened by wedging below 
(Fig. 83). A screw with a handle to turn it by and a nut for the 
thread is better, of course. Another form, such as you will find 
in use by leather-workers, can be easily made (Fig. 84), and works 

The Workshop 77 

with the foot, the connection between the jaw and the treadle 
being made by a strap or rope. You can make a vise in some of 
these ways that will answer quite well for most of the metal- 
work you will have to do for some time, although such con- 
trivances are less reliable and less convenient than a regular 
iron vise. 

An anvil is often useful and is sometimes combined with a vise. 
It should have a flat steel surface and also a tapering rounded 
(conical) point. An old flat-iron does quite well. You can 
easily find some way to keep it in position on the filing-bench. 
You should have some sort of anvil, even if nothing better than a 
junk of old iron (which you can of course find somewhere), for 
you will be continually wanting to straighten nails, bend wire, and 
pound pieces of metal. Try to find a flat plate of thick sheet 
iron \ " thick if you can to fasten on the top of the filing-bench 
(Fig. 81). It is very handy for many anvil uses, straightening 
metal and nails, and for much pounding. 

Finishing-Bench. Have also a finishing-bench (Fig. 91) 
if possible, if nothing more than a shelf or box, to keep 
the regular work-bench neat and clean for its proper uses, for 
even a skilful workman can hardly avoid making a mess 
when it comes to using paint and varnish. 

Now, while there are many of you who can afford either 
singly or by two or three clubbing together to fix up a 
shop in first-rate style, there are also many who cannot 
afford even so cheap a bench as that just described. What 
can you do in such a case? Only one thing patch up a 
bench out of whatever old stuff you can find. Patched-up 
makeshifts are not to be recommended, except in case of 
necessity, but when it comes to the pinch, and a matter of 
having a bench made of whatever old materials you can find 
or having no bench at all, by all means make one of boxes 

Wood- Working for Beginners 

and anything that can be worked in. For of course the 
boats, skis, squirrel-houses, and so on, must be made ! 

But, whatever you patch 
up, make it solid and 
strong. Do not try to work 
at a rickety, shackly apol- 
ogy for a bench that shakes 
and jumps and sidles all 
over the room every time 
you saw or pound or plane. 
You can probably get all 
you need in the way of 
boxes, packing-cases, and 
such material, at very little 
FlGt 8s> or no expense. The illus- 

trations (Figs. 85 and 86) are merely suggestions, for you 
must use your own ingenuity, according to the materials you 
can find. Most experienced workmen have often been 
obliged to work at much 
worse benches than these, 
frequently with no bench 
at all. 

Those of the boxes which 
you do not use whole you 
should take apart carefully 
(see Withdrawing Nails). 
This will add to your supply 
of nails. Use nails freely in 
fastening the boxes and 
boards together and to the 
wall or floor wherever allowable, 

FIG. 86. 
A few screws will add much 

The Workshop 


The bench shown in Fig. 86 calls for one good board for the 
front of the top. 

Some of you live in the crowded parts of the city, in flats 
or small houses where there is no possible chance for a shop 
of any kind. Whatever 
woodwork you can do must 
be carried on in the kitchen, 
or some other living-room, 
where even a small bench 
may be out of the question. 
Still you would like to make 

such small work model boats, for instance as can be carried 
on in such limited quarters. If you are forced to use the 
kitchen table for a bench, try, for the first thing, to brace or 
block or screw it to make it steady, for unsteadiness is the 
greatest hindrance to doing good work at such a bench. 

You can fit a good board to the table-top with cleats, and a 
stop to hold the work (Fig. 87). If you can now get a common 
iron vise, you can get along quite well for small work, and the 
board and attachments can be quickly taken off and put away 
when the table is needed for domestic purposes. You can easily 

contrive some 
way to attach 
wooden pieces 
or leather or 
rubber to the 
inside of the 
jaws of the 

FIG. 88. vise '. t0 save 

marring your 

woodwork. A fairly good bench can often be made from an old 
table (as a kitchen table) by screwing a plank on top and a board 


Wood-Working for Beginners 

on the front side, and bracing the legs (Fig. 88). The plank 
should be screwed on from underneath. 

If you can get hold of an old bureau or chest of drawers you 
can arrange a serviceable and compact little " parlour shop" for 
small work. If you cannot fasten permanent attachments to the 
bureau, you can fit a removable board (Fig. 87), and you will be 
equipped for such work as can be suitably done under such 
circumstances and that includes quite a long list of small things. 
The drawers can be fitted with compartments and trays, accord- 


FIG. 90. 

ing to what you have to keep in them and your own ingenuity, 
but make the arrangement simple. Figs. 89 and 90 are merely 

The best way to arrange your tools and supplies depends 
somewhat upon the circumstances, but the main point is to 
have the most convenient place for each thing and always to 
keep it in that place when not in use. The first part of this 
proposition is almost as important as the last. It is nearly 
as bad as being disorderly to keep the glue-pot in one corner 
of the shop, the glue in another corner, the glue-brush in the 
third corner, and the water in the fourth, which is no 
exaggeration of the way some very orderly people stow 
away things, and is about equal to the arrangement of the 
person, of whom you may have heard, who always kept 
everything in its place and that place the floor! The 
workshop interior shown in the frontispiece and in Figs. 91 
and 92, and the various other illustrations, furnish sugges- 
tions which may help you in the arrangement of your shop. 

The Workshop 


Have everything where you can lay your hand on it in the 
least possible time, the tools used the most the nearest to 
you, tools that go together, as bit-brace and bits, kept near 
together. Have all the common tools right within reach, 
and not put away in chests and out-of-the-way drawers, 
just because you have seen somebody pack away his tools 

FIG. 91. 

in a highly polished chest, inlaid with forty kinds of wood, 
and containing ninety-three separate compartments and trays 
and seven secret drawers, the whole cornered and strapped 
and decorated with shining nickel plate ! Do not bedazzled 
by that sort of thing, which is not an evidence of true 
system and orderliness, but merely shows poor taste and a 
great lack of appreciation of the value and importance of 
time. Time may not be exactly money in your case, but it 
may be even more valuable, and can be spent much better 
than in running around after tools and supplies, and making 


82 Wood-Working for Beginners 

ingenious tool-chests. To be practical, five minutes a day 
saved by having things convenient and in place means about 
twenty-five hours in a year which means a boat, a sled, or a 
lot of Christmas presents. So study out the best arrange- 
ment for your particular shop and then keep things in order. 
When working keep only the tools in actual use lying around 

on the bench. As soon as you are done with a tool for the 
operations actually in hand, put it back in place, and so avoid 
the confused litter seen in so many shops. 

Hang saws against the wall on pegs, or nails, or at the end 
of the bench. Hang all tools which you put on the wall 
well above the bench, to be out of the way. 

'L.^.j planes on their sides or ends, for obvious reasons, or 
arrange a little block to raise one end of the plane slightly 
from the surface of the bench or shelf. The last way is 
usually more convenient than to lay the plane on its side or 

The Workshop 

end. Keep planes either at the back of the bench or against 
the wall, or on a shelf under the front of the bench. 

Such tools as squares, bit-braces, and the like are usually 
most accessible on 
the wall, in some 
such arrangement as 
shown in the front- 
i sp iec e . A con- 
v e n i e n t way to 
arrange such tools 
as chisels, gouges, 
and the like, is to 
keep them in racks 
either against the 
wall or fastened to 
the back edge of 

the bench, accord- 
ing to circumstan- 

FIG. 93. 

ces. Keep each tool in a particular place in the rack and you 
will soon learn to reach for it instinctively without any 

waste of time. 

Bits can be kept in a drawer 
or box, care being taken to ar- 
range them in racks or between 
partitions, or they can be stuck 
on end in the racks at the back 
of the bench. A good way is to 
stick each bit point downwards 
in a hole bored by itself. Various 
FlG - 94- forms of tool-racks, which you 

can easily arrange for yourself, are suggested in Fig. 93. 

Fig. 94 shows a rack to fit on the back of the bench, an excel- 
lent way, in common use with movable benches. Get a board, 

8 4 

Wood- Working for Beginners 

FIG. 95. 

say 3* or 4" wide and the length of the bench, a strip from %' to 
%" thick, perhaps i" wide, and the length of the bench, and a 
strip y^," thick, perhaps i" wide, and perhaps two thirds of the 

length of the 
bench. Saw from 
this last strip a 
number of blocks 
from i" to 2" long. 
Arrange these 
along the top edge 
of the board, ac- 
FIG - 95. cording to the 

kinds and sizes of the tools, as shown in Fig. 95. Then lay the 
long strip on them (Fig. 96) and nail it through each block with 
wire nails long enough to reach perhaps two thirds through the 
large strip. You can put this rack together by first nailing at 
each end. Then all the intermediate blocks can easily be fitted 
in place and nailed one at a time. The whole can then be screwed 
to the back of the bench so that the tools will be at the back 
(Fig. 94). You 
can make part of 
this rack solid 
and bore small 
holes of various 
sizes for bits, 
gimlets, nail-sets, 
and such tools, 
which would 
drop through the 

larger spaces. 
, ' , , FIG. 97. FIG. 98. 

Good metal tool- 
racks and -holders can be bought, but the home-made ones 
answer every purpose. 

The large steel square can be hung very well with nails 

The Workshop 85 

or small blocks of wood bevelled toward the wall (Fig. 
97). For the try-square nail a rectangular block against the 
wall (Fig. 98). A smaller block nailed in front will hold 
another smaller square. Slanting saw-kerfs in another block 
will hold scrapers (Fig. 99). Always keep your oilstones in 
shallow boxes for protection from dirt. You can easily make 
one, or cut a depression in a block to fit the stone, 
with another for a cover. Fasten one end of your 
strop to a strip of thin board (Fig. 100) with a hole 
by which to hang it. You can then use the strop 
lying flat on the board or loose in 
your hand for curved edges. 

Do not keep nails and screws 
after the usual domestic fashion, 
all sizes, shapes, and kinds mixed 
up promiscuously with a lot of 

metal rubbish and carpet tacks in 

r FIG. 99. FIG. 100. 

some old box or pail. You will 

waste twice as much time trying to find what you want as 
it takes to keep them in separate boxes, or trays with 
divisions. A good way is to use either small open boxes or 
flat open boxes with divisions, so that they can be reached 
as conveniently as possible. Tin boxes or canisters or pails 
(of various sizes), such as cocoa, coffee, lard, and such 
substances come in, are good. Put labels on them and 
arrange them neatly in some accessible place, as on a shelf 
over or at the end of your bench, or in a cupboard or a 

Keep scrap boxes for old pieces of metal (iron, brass, etc. ? 
in separate boxes), so that you will know just where to look 
for what you want. Keep a brush for cleaning off the bench 
and the work, a broom for the floor, and a box for shavings, 
sawdust, and chips. 

86 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Any workman is liable to cut or pound his fingers, so have 
a small box in a handy place with some neatly rolled 
bandages of cloth, some surgeon's plaster, and a bottle of 
witch-hazel (hamamelis) or some other preparation for cuts 
or bruises. In case of a bruise, or if you pound your nail, 
put your finger at once in as hot water as you can bear. Do 
not, as is often done, put glue on a cut, because of danger of 
infection, for the glue is made, as you know, from animal 
refuse and is not always in a pure state. 

Do not leave oily rags lying around in your shop to get 
wadded into a pile in some corner and catch fire by spon- 
taneous combustion. Either put them in the stove at once, 
or, if you want to keep a few, put them in a stone jar or 
covered tin box. Matches should always be kept in a 
covered metal box in a wood-working shop. 

Lay in a supply of strips, waste junks, and odd pieces of 
wood, which you can usually get at any shop at little or no 
expense. They will be very useful until you accumulate a 
stock from your own work. 

Chopping-Block. A good solid chopping-block is a great 
convenience, so watch for a chance to get a section of a tree, 
which you can often do when one is felled. 

Straight-Edge. You should have at least one ; two are 
very useful one two or three feet long and another five or six 
feet long. Making them is simply a matter of skill in plan- 
ing. When you can plane well enough make some yourself 
of well seasoned, straight-grained white pine or mahogany, 
or other wood which holds its shape well. Until you can 
do it accurately, however, get some good workman to make 
one, for a straight-edge that cannot be relied on is really 
worse than none at all. (See Straight-edge.) 

Bench-Hook. The bench-hook (Fig. 101) is very useful to 

The Workshop 

hold work firmly for sawing, planing, etc., and also saves some 
marring of the bench-top. Before beginning work read carefully 
Marking, Rule, Square, Saw, and Plane, in Part V., and look up 
any other references. 

Take a board, say 15" long x 6" wide, of some good wood like 

FIG. 10 1. FIG. 102. 

white pine, making both ends square. The surface should be 
planed true (see Truing Surfaces). With the square mark the 
line a b (Fig. 102) accurately, say 2" (or the width of any blocks 
you may already have for the end cleats) from each end, but on 
opposite sides. The cleats c (Fig. 101) must be true and the 
edges square. Bore the holes in the cleats with a bit a little 
larger than the screws (see Boring). Hold the cleats exactly in 
place at the cross-line a b and start holes in the board with a 
gimlet or bit a little smaller than the screws. 
Countersink the holes (see Countersink). 
Use screws long enough to get a good hold* 
on the board but not long enough to go 
through it If board and cleat are each $" 
thick, \\" screws will be suitable. Screw 
one of the middle screws in each cleat firmly ' 1G ' I0 3' 

to a bearing (see Screws), keeping the cleat as nearly on the line 
as possible. Adjust each cleat exactly in place, in case it has 
slipped, hold it firmly, and drive the remaining screws. Before 
screwing on one of the cteats mark a line around it in the middle 
with the square, as shown in Fig. 103, marking first across the 


Wood- Working for Beginners 

edge o (against which the work is to be pressed), from that line 
squaring across the top, and then across the 
outer edge. After this cleat is screwed on, 
carefully saw it in two exactly on the line. 
By letting the saw run in the kerf thus made, 
you can cut pieces off square. Sometimes one 
cleat is made shorter, so that you can saw 
clear through a piece without damage to the 
See Mitre-board, page 92. Two bench-hooks 

FIG. 104. 
bench (Fig. 104). 

are useful for long work. 

Horses or Trestles. These are to lay stock on for mark- 
ing and sawing, to 
put large work to- 
gether on, and are 
convenient for var- 
ious uses (Fig. 105). 

FIG. 105. 
Before beginning 

work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, and Saw, in Part 
V., and look up any other references. 

The proper height for your horses, as for the bench, depends 
somewhat on your own height, and may be anywhere from 18" to 
2 3*. Experiment with boxes to find the most convenient 

height. If too low, you will have to 
stoop over too much. If too high, it 
will be awkward to rest your knee 
on a board, to saw, and to fit work 
FIG. 106. together. 

If you have a piece of fairly good joist, from i* x 3* to 3" x 
6", you can use it for the tops of your horses. Saw off two pieces 
from 2' to 3' long. Mark the best sides for the top. Mark each 
end like Fig. 106 (showing top and bottom) with the pencil, 
measuring carefully so that the bevel or slant will be the same for 
both legs (see Bevel}. Holding the work in the vise, with saw 

The Workshop 


FIG. 107. 

FIG. 108. 

FIG. 109. 

alone or saw and chisel remove the pieces marked, so that the 
end will have the shape shown in Fig. 107. If 
you use the chisel, look out for the direction of 
the grain at each corner and cut well outside of the 
line, until you find which way to push the tool in 
each case (see Paring, etc.). Trim these cuts as ac- 
curately to the lines as you can. Get out eight 
pieces for legs, of such a length that the horses 
will be of the height decided on. First make them 
all of a width, then saw one piece off the right 
length and mark the others by it not each new 
piece by the one last marked. Nail or screw these 
legs in place with 2" nails or if* screws, keeping 
the inner edges of the tops of the legs even with 
the tops of the horses (Fig. 108). See Nailing and 
Screzvs, and look out for splitting. Get out the 
cross-braces of board and saw the ends at a bevel 
to correspond with the slant intended for the legs. 
See that the ends of these cross-braces are cut at 
the same bevel. Use the bevel if you have one. 
If not, first square each end with the square and 
pencil, and then measure carefully equal distances 

on one edge before drawing the 
slanting lines (Fig. 109). Nail or 
screw these on (Fig. no), adjust- 
ing the legs to the bevels just cut. 
Saw or plane off the projecting 
ends of the legs on top. If you 
plane, do so both ways to avoid 
splintering (see Plane}. 

Now stand the horses on their 
legs (Fig. in). If they should 
FlG - IIJ - happen to stand firmly and evenly, 

see first if it is not due to unevenness of the floor. If the floor is 
true, and they stand steadily in different positions, you can throw 

FIG. no. 

90 Wood-Working for Beginners 

up your caps, for you will have beaten the average workman. 

To make them stand 
B^ evenly, see Scribing, 

FIG. 112. 

FIG. 113. 

Winding-sticks, etc., in Part V. Make the tops of the horses 
as smooth as you can. Scrape them and keep them scraped (see 

Scraper], for you will be continually 

dropping glue or varnish on them, to 

harden and deface 

your nice, smooth 

work. Wipe them off 

as carefully as the 

bench-top. These 

easily made horses will 

answer your purpose 
FIG. 114. for a long time. 1 FIG. 115. 

Mitre-Box. Great care is necessary to make an accurate 
wooden mitre-box (Fig. 1 16), although the process is simple. 
Do not make it of spruce or any wood liable to warp or 
twist. Pine or mahogany is good. Use stock from a mid- 

1 Fig. 112 shows a nicer pair of horses. Take two pieces of pine, or any 
wood not likely to warp, 2" x 3" (or 4") x 2^' or 3', mark with rule, square, and 
gauge (see Gauge), and cut with saw and chisel the shallow gains (Fig. 113) 
for the legs. Make them the same depth at the top as at the bottom (Fig. 
114), and clean them out as accurately to the lines as you can. Get out eight 
legs, and regulate their length as before. Saw the upper ends on a bevel (Fig. 
114) corresponding to the slant they are to have. Nail or screw them in place. 
You can glue the joints for additional strength. Fit on cross-pieces and finish 
the work as described above. If you ever need horses for very heavy work 
you can make the legs of plank or joist with the tops cut like Fig. 115. 

The Workshop 

FIG. u6. 

die board if you can (see Chapter III.). A mitre-box can be 
of any desired size. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, and Plane, and look up any other references. 

A good size is from i' to 2 long and from 3* to 6" square (inside), 
according to the work for which it is 
to be used, and of stock " thick. 
The pieces must be prepared with 
care, so that the edges shall be square 
and the surfaces true, particularly on 
the inside, for when the box is put 
together the sides must be parallel and 
square throughout with the bottom, on 
the inside. Test each piece with the 
square. Use care in screwing the sides 
to the bottom to keep them exactly in 
place (see Screws). Nails can be used, 
but screws are better. Lay out the 
lines for the sawing from the inside, with 
the steel square if you have one, or with 
the end of the tongue of the try-square. 
Mark the line a on the inside of the side x 
(Fig. 117), squaring from the bottom. Mark 
the point b at a distance from a just equal 
to the distance between the sides. Square a 
line at this point from the bottom, on the in- 
side as before. Carry this line across to the 
side y, squaring from the inner surface of the side x, and mark 
the point c on the inner side of the side y. Also from the point 
c draw a vertical line on the inside of y corresponding to the 
line a. Carefully mark the line g h, which will give the mitre. 
The lines should be laid out from the inside, because it is against 
the inside surfaces that the pieces to be cut in the mitre-box will 

FIG. 118. 

Wood- Working for Beginners 

Another way is to square a line m n (Fig. 118) across the top 
side of the bottom piece, before putting together, and to lay off 
from one end of this line a point o on the edge, at a distance 
equal to the width of the bottom, thus fixing the points m, n, and 
o. Next fasten on the sides, square upright lines on the inside of 
one side from the point m and on the inside of the other side 

from the point o. The diagonal line/ 
q (Fig 119) will represent the mitre. 

FIG. 119. 

FIG. 120. 

The cuts for the saw to run in should be made with a back- 
saw or a panel-saw. In a similar manner square on the inside 
two upright lines opposite each other, draw a line across the tops 
of the sides to meet these lines (squaring from the inside as be- 
fore), and make a saw-cut, as shown by the middle line in Fig. 
116. This will be very useful to saw strips squarely across. 

You can put buttons on the 
outside near the lower edge to 
catch against the front edge of 
the bench-top if you wish, or 
use the mitre-box on the bench- 
hooks when necessary to hold 
it firmly. 

A very useful mitre-board for 
sawing strips, mouldings, and 
the like, can be made with two 
short boards, one wider than the 
other, being sure that the surfaces and edges are true and square 
(Fig. 120). This can be of any size. A good size is from i' to 
2' long, 6" wide (in all), and of stock f" thick, but it is better to 

FIG. 121. 

The Workshop 


make the narrow piece thicker, perhaps i^ f or if". Mark the 
lines first on the bottom of the narrow piece, then on the edges, 
and lastly on the top, as with the mitre-box just shown, to ensure 
the lines being at the correct angles with the surfaces against 
which the wood to be sawed will rest. An excellent plan is to 
make saw-kerfs for mitres in the cleat of a bench-hook (Fig. 121), 
in the way just shown. 

Shooting-Board. This is useful for squaring edges and 
small surfaces and ends with the plane, and for jointing edges, 

FIG. 122. 

^ij 1 1 i.'i 

FIG. 123. 

the plane being pushed forward on its side (see Shooting- 
board, in Part V.). It can be of any wood which holds its 
shape well. Clear white pine or mahogany is good. If 
carelessly made it will be of but little use. The stock 
must be planed free from winding. Several forms are shown 
in Figs. 122, 123, and 124. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. The 
construction is plain (Fig. 122). Approximate dimensions are 
given, Fig. 122 being made of \" stock, Fig. 123 of \" and \" 
stock, and Fig. 124 of -J" stock. Screw the pieces together from 


Wood- Working for Beginners 

the under side (see Screws). See tha.t the stop or cleat a is put 
on at right angles to the edge b. Mark the lines for this accu- 
rately with knife or chisel. A groove is sometimes cut for this 
stop, but this is a refinement that is not at all necessary if you 

FIG. 124. 

do your work well. This board must have a rabbet or groove 
cut out of the upper piece, as shown, to give room for shavings. 
In Fig. 123 the top board overlaps the ends of the cleats a trifle, 
which (with the spaces between the cleats) allows the escape of 
the shavings. Arrange some way to hold the board firmly on 
the bench. Care is necessary in using the shooting-board not to 
plane slices from your left hand. Guides, to attach to the plane 
to ensure square edges, can be bought and used instead of the 
shooting-board. Some of them are serviceable, particularly those 

adjustable at various 

A mitre shooting- 
board (Fig. 1 25) is also 
useful. It requires to 
be made with even 
more care than the 
board just given, but 
on the same principle. 
The angular stop or 

stops must be fitted 
FIG. 125. . . , 

to make the angles ex- 
actly 45. A sawed mitre holds glue better than a planed mitre, 
but sawed mitres often require trimming with the plane to get 
a perfect fit. 

The Workshop 


Form for Rounding Sticks. You will be continually 
wanting to make sticks eight-sided 
or round. A form to hold the pieces 
for planing is a great convenience. 

Before beginning work read carefully 
Marking, Gauge, Plane, and Nailing, 
in Part V., and look up any other ref- 

Take two strips and plane off (or 
even chisel or whittle) one corner of 
each, first gauging lines equidistant 
from the corner for a guide. Then nail 
the two strips together, with the bevels 
facing each other, to make a trough as 
shown in Fig. 126. Put a screw in one end to push the work 
against, push the form against the bench-stop or screw 

FIG. 126. 

FIG. 127. FIG. 128. 

it in the vise, put the piece to be " cornered " or rounded in the 
V-shaped trough, and it will be firmly 
held with the angle upward. Two or 
three of these for larger and smaller 
pieces will be very useful. They are 
quickly made of waste strips. If you 
think 2 the right length for one of these 
forms, for instance, make it a foot or so 
longer, and after it is made saw off the 
extra length in one or two pieces, which 
will serve as an extension for holding 
a long stick (Fig. 127). If your bench 
[has wooden bench-stops you can make 
some stops with notches in the top (Fig. 
FIG. 129. 128) for this purpose. 

9 6 

Wood- Working for Beginners 

For making pieces tapering, as well as eight-sided or rounding, 
you have only to modify this idea by planing off the corners in a 
tapering way (Fig. 129). See Rounding Sticks. 

Level and Plumb. Before beginning work read carefully 
Marking, Rule, Square, Gauge, Saw, and Plane, in Part V. 
To make a plumb like Fig. 130, take a piece of straight wood 
from 3" to 5" wide and 4' or 5' long with the edges straight 
and parallel. Gauge a line down the middle of the side, 
exactly parallel to the edges, and cut the notch shown at 
the bottom. Make a saw-kerf at the upper end of the 
line and another beside it in which to catch the end of 

FIG. 130. 

the line, or fasten the line around a nail. (See Plumb.) 

To make the level shown in Fig. 131, it is essential that the 
bottom board c d be straight on the lower edge. The two braces 
a c and a d should be of the same length. The strut a b 
should be nailed across at the middle of c d and at right angles 
to it. The essential thing is to have the line a b exactly at right 
angles to c d, the object of the braces a c and a d being to 
stiffen the board c d, and to keep the lines a b and c d at 
right angles to each other. The plumb-line is hung and used as 
in the case just given, the board c d being used for horizontal 
work. (See Level.) 

Cabinets, etc., for Tools and Supplies. A tool-chest, 
though a very convenient (and in fact necessary) thing for a 

The Workshop 97 

workman who is moving around from place to place or who 
needs a safe receptacle in which to lock his tools in a fac- 
tory, is not at all necessary in a private shop, nor half as 
convenient as to have the tools where they can be more 
readily reached. It is quite a piece of work to make a good 
one, and it will be better to defer such a job until you feel 
the need. 

An old case of drawers, or bureau, or cupboard, or some 
such receptacle, if you can find one, will be useful in your shop. 
A bureau, in fact, makes a good tool-cabinet or substitute for 
a tool-chest, but if you keep tools in drawers make compart- 
ments, trays, or divisions, else the edge-tools may be dam- 
aged, not to speak of the inevitable confusion. 

You do not need a tool-cabinet for half a dozen tools, but 
when they begin to accumulate it is a good thing to have 
and a good thing to make, if there is occasion to keep your 
tools locked up or if you have limited room. Otherwise it 
is just as well to keep the common tools as already shown. 
A cabinet is fully as useful for miscellaneous articles like 
brads, hinges, etc., as for tools. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, and Screws, and look up any other references. 

Perhaps you can find a good box, wide and shallow, all made, 
or if deep you can saw off part to make it shal- 
low (Fig. 132). This will answer perfectly for 
a shop. For the house you would of course 
make a cupboard of new wood. The size must 
depend on circumstances. Get two boards for 
doors that will just cover the open side of the 

box, unless the box cover will do, which is un- F IG - J 3 2 ' 

likely. If the edges are not good you must allow extra width 
for jointing. Lay these boards in position and mark the 
lengths (on the side next the box) by the box itself, not with the 

9 8 

Wood-Working for Beginners 

square, for the box may not be square. From the lines just 
made mark the edges with the square, and, with the straight- 
edge, connect these edge marks by lines on the face sides. 
Saw off by these lines. Mark the box and each door in some 
way (Fig. 133), as " top," and " R " (for right) and " L " (for left), 
or by marks, as X, O, 8, etc., to prevent finally putting them 

FIG. 133. 

FIG. 134. 

FIG. 135. 

FIG. 136. 

on wrong side out or wrong end up, as is very likely to happen if 
you neglect to mark them. 

Now for hinges. The best thing, on account of the weight to 
be hung on the doors and the poor quality of the wood generally 
used for boxes, will be iron strap-hinges made for work of this 
sort, screwed on the outside (Fig. 134). Two will do for each 
door. Next to this come the common iron hinges. If the sides 
of the box are thick and firm, three of the common long and 
narrow kind (Fig. 135) will do for each door. If the sides are 
thin and flimsy, nail or screw a strip inside of each edge and use 

wider and shorter hinges (Fig. 136). 
To fit the hinges, see Hinges. The 
doors being hung, take them off while 
fitting up the case. Gauge a pencil line 
around the outer edge and each end of 
the inside surface of each door, where 
it fits against the edge of the box, as 
FIG. 137. a limit beyond which racks or tools 

must not project or the door will not shut (Fig. 137). 

The fitting up of the cupboard must depend on its size and 
what and how many tools or supplies are to be kept in it. Shelves 

The Workshop 


you can simply make of the right size and nail into place from 

the outside, using the rule and square to get them in the right 

positions. The illustrations are merely suggestions which you 

can alter or improve upon to suit your par- 

ticular case. Fig. 138 shows another form, 

and Fig. 139 a small cabinet with one 

door, with suggestions for the arrangement 

of the tools, but the matter of fitting up 

you must, of course, contrive for your- 

selves, according to the circumstances. 

Do not attempt to put full-width drawers into these wide, shallow 

cabinets, as is often done. It takes an expert to fit drawers that 

are wide and short (from front to back) and they are not always 

satisfactory even then. If you wish drawers, either put in a row 


FIG. 139. 

of narrow ones, or use the simple device described below (Figs. 

141 and 142), and shown in Fig. 139. (See Drawers in Part V.) 

To fasten the doors you can hook one on the inside and put 

a button (which you can whittle out) on the outside to hold the 

ioo Wood-Working for Beginners 

other. If you wish to lock, hook one door inside and lock the 
other to it (see Locks]. A padlock with staples and iron strap is 
easier to put on. To make a cupboard of boards instead of 
using a box, you simply make a box yourself (see Box-making in 
Part II.) and then proceed as above. 

Fig. 140 shows a good form of cabinet. Make a tight box, 
perhaps 2' x 3' x 6" to 9", the sides and ends of -J" stock, and 
the top and bottom (/. e., the front and back of the cabinet) 

of " stock. Saw it 
open carefully on the 
line a b c about 2" or 
3" from the top or face, 
according to the thick- 
ness of the box, first 
marking the ends or 
* IG - I4 ' the sides so that you 

can finally put them together again in the same positions. When 
nailing the box together omit all nails which could interfere with 
the sawing. They can easily be put in afterwards. (See Box- 
making^ in Part II.) Carefully smooth the edges after the saw. 
Reckless and hasty planing will spoil the joint. Fit two strap- 
hinges, or three of the common kind. Fit up inside as you wish, 
and fasten with hasp, padlock, or a lock working on the prin- 
ciple of a chest lock. 

All these cabinets must be firmly fastened to the wall, for they 
will be very heavy when filled. Do not trust to a couple of nails 
or screws, the way amateurs so often put up shelves and cabinets 
in the house. A ledge of some sort below is a great help (Fig. 
140) to relieve the screws or nails of the weight. If the back is 
not very strong, do not trust wholly to it, but add cleats outside 
'or inside. If in the house, stout screw-eyes of heavy wire in the 
sides of the cabinet, through which you can screw to the wall, 
are good (Fig. 140). 

Good shelves can be made by arranging empty boxes one on 
top of another, or by taking a wide, thin (flat) box and fitting 

The Workshop 


shelves across it, like a bookcase, and then fastening the whole 
to the wall. 

A small drawer can be fixed under a shelf, anywhere in your 
shop, on the principle often used in 
sewing-machine tables and the like, by 
taking a small box of suitable shape, 
strengthening one corner if necessary 

.(Fig- MO, and 

pivoting it with 
a screw at that 
corner (Fig. 142). 

FIG. 141. 

FIG. 142. 

First-class Bench. You can do all the work you will be 
equal to for a long time on such a bench as has been shown, 
but some day you will want a first-class bench, such as Fig. 
143. Do not attempt anything of the sort at first, however, 

FIG. 143. 

though if you can afford it, such a bench is good to begin 
with. A few details are given in the Appendix. 

Other Appliances. A number of other appliances and 
contrivances will be found, under their respective headings, 
in Part V. 


Do one thing at a time. Finish one job before you start two or 
three others. 

First learn to work well, then ability to work quickly will come of 

Plan your work to the end before beginning to use your tools. 

Make drawings carefully to scale before beginning any but the 
simplest work. 

Lay out the work carefully on the wood with sharp, accurate lines, 
according to the drawings, measuring everything with exactness at 
least twice. 

Cut the work accurately with sharp tools to the lines you have laid 

Keep testing the accuracy of the work with the square, straight- 
edge, rule, level, or plumb. 

Keep your tools sharp and in good order. 

Have the most convenient place for each tool and always keep it in 
that place when not in use. 

Do your work thoroughly and strongly. Do not half make it. 
Do not half fasten it together. The only time you will regret thor- 
ough work is when you have to take it apart again. 


" The labor is small, the pastime is great." GOETHE. 




EVEN if you are able to use tools quite well, you may 
still not know how to go to work to make some par- 
ticular thing, so it is quite important to know how to lay out, 
put together, and finish different kinds of work. 

The number of things you can make is legion. The num- 
ber it is worth while for you to make is much smaller. 
Amateurs often say that the work they do themselves costs 
more (even counting their own labour as nothing) than to 
hire the work done, and it is one aim of this book to prevent 
that undesirable result, in some cases at least. 

The number of things which you can make more cheaply 
than you can buy grows smaller every year. Many things 
can now be bought ready-made for less than you would have 
to pay for the materials. It is foolish to take the time and 
money to make many of the games and toys, for instance, 
sold so cheaply nowadays. A wheelbarrow is in itself a 
good thing to make, but it can be bought so cheaply that it 
is hardly worth while to make one. It is true that some of 
these things you can make better ; although not cheaper, than 
you can easily buy (a sled perhaps) ; but, as a rule, your time 
can be better spent than upon this class of objects, and you 
will find but few such given here. 

104 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Things like whistles, pea-shooters, and clappers, which are 
so familiar to every boy and require no more instruction to 
make than is handed down and around from boy to boy, are 
not given here, as a rule. A few other things which you 
might perhaps look for, such as tennis rackets and snow- 
shoes, are omitted, because they require more special know- 
ledge and skill than most beginners can be expected to have. 
It is easy enough to see how to make a tennis racket, for 
instance, so far as the general idea is concerned ; but simply 
bending a loop, fastening it to a stick, and lacing the loop, 
does not make a tennis racket. The holes for the stringing 
must be made in a particular way, the stringing must be 
done properly, and the whole affair must balance or 
" hang " right, or be of little use. It is better to buy such 

You boys, and many of your elders, like to try all the 
new-fangled ideas as fast as they come out, and it is well 
that you do, but you (as a class) accept them " for keeps " 
only after they have stood the test of many trials. A large 
book could be filled with descriptions of the novelties which 
have appeared within my remembrance, but out of this 
number I can count on my fingers all that have come to stay. 
You will find all the novelties you can attend to (and more) 
in the magazines, etc., so I have been rather conservative in 
my selection, knowing that you will permanently accept but 
the best of the new ideas and come back in the end, year 
after year, to the same old things, with only such additions 
as have stood the test of actual use. 

The objects included embrace a sufficient variety of types 
to form a basis of experience and practice, in different kinds 
of work and in various details, from which you can launch 
out into any of these new plans, or any experiments of your 
own which you may wish to try, and thus supply for your- 

The Workshop 105 

selves the information lacking in many of the popular 

Before you make anything bulky measure your shop door 
or window to see that you can get it out after you have 
made it. This may seem a superfluous caution, but there 
have been many cases where people have spent much time 
in making things which could not be taken from the room in 
which they were made without tearing out the door or 
window casing. Even Robinson Crusoe, you know, built a 
boat so far from the water that he could not launch her. 

Do not be deceived by all the complicated, new-fangled 
variations of familiar things which abound in the popular 
publications. Try to make everything as simple as you can. 
Look askance on contrivances that are all tangled up with 
springs, and levers, and complicated mechanism, and study 
them well before you begin to make them. 

First figure the cost of the object you intend to make. 
This book is not to do your work for you, but to put you on 
the right track to do it yourselves, so read Estimating, page 
54, and the whole of Part I had best be read before you 
begin to make the things described hereafter. 



Wooden Swords, Knives, and Daggers. Before be- 
ginning work, read Marking, Knife, Whittling, Paring, 
Rounding Sticks, Rasp, File, and Sandpaper, and look up 

FIG. 144. 

any other references. The construction of those shown in 
Fig. 144 is too obvious to require special description. First 
Cut the general outline as shown, then round or pare or 

A Few Toys 107 

shave to the thickness required. If you have a bow-saw or 
scroll-saw, it will save much time in shaping the outlines, 
or you can have them sawed at the mill. If you stain these 
weapons with various colours, as red, black, yellow, etc., and 
in various patterns, and shellac them neatly (see Finishing), 
you can turn out quite a formidable array of awe-inspiring 
weapons. They should be made of some straight-grained 
and easily whittled wood. Nothing is better than white 

To make a sword like that shown in Fig. 145, first select a 

FIG. 145. 

piece of straight-grained wood (ash or any strong wood) about 
2\' in length, ^" thick, and i" wide. About 4" from one end 
make a mark. From this mark taper the edges to the other end. 
Do not taper the stick too gradually. Then draw a line along 
the centre of each side and taper from this centre line to the 
edges, leaving the edges about -jV' thick. Next get out two 
pieces of wood " thick and 4" long (some dark-coloured wood 
can be used for contrast). Nail one of these pieces with brads 
on each side of the 4" space left for the handle. Next get a piece 
4" long, J" thick, and f " wide (see Fig. 145). Mark it as shown, 
making the marks for the holes (iV') so tnat the outside edge of 
one will be just i" from the outside edge of the other. Then 

io8 Wood-Working for Beginners 

bore these holes carefully (see Boring) and cut out the wood be- 
tween them with a knife or chisel (being careful about splitting) 
and shape the outside as marked. Slip the blade through the 
hole in the guard you have just made up to the handle and nail 
the guard to the blade. 

Wooden Snake. This 

imitation reptile (Fig. 146) if 
well made will (when grasped 
at the middle) by a slight 
movement of the hand undu- 
late and writhe in a very life- 
like manner, as you may know, 
so do not be eager to terrify 
your feminine relatives, or 
those of other boys, too much. 

Before beginning work read 
carefully Marking, Rule, Knife, 
Saw, and Rounding Sticks. The 
snake can be of any size say 
from 2' to 6' long and from i" to 
2" in diam. Select a piece of 
straight-grained wood, w h i t e 
pine or any wood easy to work. 
First see that the stick is square, then make it hexagonal (six- 
sided), then taper it to the general shape of the snake, and finally 
round and smooth it (Fig. 147). Remember not to use sand- 
paper in the smoothing, as the grit will dull the tools yet to be 

1G ' 

FIG. 147. 

used. The head you must whittle or carve according to your 
ingenuity and skill. The mouth can be cut with a fine saw. 
The snake having been shaped, mark pencil lines lengthways 

A Few Toys 109 

along the middle of the top and bottom (except at the head), and 
cut with a knife a little slit or groove merely wide enough to hold 
a fine cord (like fish-line). This can be done with a fine saw (as 
a back-saw), using the teeth only at one end of the saw blade, 
but much care is required and the stick must be firmly clamped 
or held in the vise. You will probably do it more easily with the 
knife. Mark equal spaces (Fig. 148) of " to 2", according to 
the diameter of the snake, from the neck 
to within a short distance of the end of 
the tail. If you make these marks as near 
together as f ", the snake will look more natural, as the notches 
will not have to be so wide, but you will have to cut more of 
them. Number these sections so that you can finally put them 
together again in the right order. With the knife or chisel notch 
in to the centre from each side at each of the marks, or use the 
saw and knife or chisel, until the body of the snake is cut into 
sections (Fig. 148). Put the sections together again by sinking 
a fine strong cord in the longitudinal grooves in the top and 
bottom. Set the cord in place with glue (see Gluing), and 
fasten with little staples (which you can make of bent pins), or 
something of the sort, at the end of each section. 

Set beads in the head for eyes. Sandpaper the whole with fine 
sandpaper (see Sandpaper], Paint in imitation of whatever kind 
of snalte you prefer (see Painting], using red for the inside of the 

Windmills. These are made in a great variety of forms. 
A few patterns which can be readily constructed of wood 
are given below. Bear in mind to make them strong, as 
they are under very great strain in a violent wind, and, also, 
that the larger they are the stronger they must be; for little 
models, you know, are much stronger in proportion than 
large structures made after the same designs. Dimensions 
are given merely to help illustrate the principles of con- 
struction. The windmills will work just as well if made 

1 10 Wood- Working for Beginners 

larger or smaller, within any reasonable limits. They should 
be made of straight -grained white pine, whitewood, or some 
wood easy to work. 1 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Knife, and Paring, and look up any other references. In 
case of using heavy stock, see also Drawknife, Spokeshave, and 


FIG. 149. 

FIG. 150. 

Plane. To make a very simple form (Fig. 149), take two 
sticks, say 8" x i" x i", and halve or notch (see Halving) each 
piece at the centre (Fig. 150), so that when put together they will 
form a cross with arms of equal length. Bore a hole through 
both pieces at the centre to loosely fit the pin upon which the 
vanes are to turn (see Boring]. Upon the ends of each stick 
mark diagonal lines (Fig. 150) slanting in opposite directions, or 
so that, if you revolve the cross edgeways and look in turn upon 
each of the four ends, the lines will all slant the same way. This 

1 You can attach your windmill to a building or set it up on a pole, or you 
can easily make a small trestle-work tower, built of small sticks, on the top of 
which you can place the windmill, with a small keg (to represent a hogshead 
or tank), and thus have a very good imitation of the large mills used for pump- 
ing water. Small windmills, if you wish to go further into the subject than 
comes within the scope of this book, can be used to do any light or "play" 
work by having them turn a bent shaft (or any eccentric movement), connect- 
ing with a piston-rod or revolving drum ; or various other attachments can be 
applied, according to your ingenuity. 

A Few Toys 1 1 1 

is essential, for the next operation is to shave each of the sticks 
down towards these lines until perhaps " thick (Fig. 150), and 
you can readily see that if these vanes are not turned the same 
way the windmill will not revolve. When this shaping is done 
fasten the sticks together with brads (see Nailing). The remain- 
ing part is very simple 
(Fig. 151), perhaps i' ^ 
long and " thick, with 
the broad vane made thin, 
as the only object of this 
is to act as a weather-vane 
to keep the windmill FIG. 151. 

headed toward the wind, and if made thick and heavy the whole 
affair will not balance well. 

The revolving cross you can now fasten with a nail or screw 
upon the end of the part last made (Fig. 151) so that it will re- 
volve freely. Find the point at which the whole windmill will 
balance over your finger or a stick, and bore a vertical hole 
through the horizontal stick at this point. Through this hole 
loosely screw or nail the windmill on the end of a stick, slightly 
rounded to prevent friction (Fig. 151). Sandpaper the whole 
with rather fine sandpaper (see Sandpaper}. 

You can paint in one or more colours, if you wish (see Paint- 
ing). The vanes can be painted in light and dark bands crossways, 
causing an appearance, when revolving, 
of concentric rings (like a target). By 
FIG. 152. having two axles or spindles (Fig. 152) 

two sets of vanes can revolve at once, 
and, by slanting the vanes of the two sets 

in opposite ways, the two will revolve in 
FIG. 153. ,. / ' 

contrary directions. 

The weather-vane can be made of two pieces (Fig. 153). 

A more elaborate affair (Fig. 154) is made on similar principles, 
but requires more care. The construction is obvious. Before 
beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, Saw, 

ii2 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Plane, Knife, Spokeshave, Drawshave, Rounding Sticks, and look 
up any other references. The general dimensions of the one illus- 
trated are: length of main frame (in which spindle turns) 9", 
height of one end 4^'', height of the other end 2^"; length of 
weather-vane (from main frame) 10", width at end 4^"; length 
of revolving fans i', width at ends 2". The spindle is held in the 
main frame on a slant (Fig. 155) to lessen any tendency to slip 
out, so the hole through which it passes should have a cor- 
responding slant (see Boring). The revolving fans or vanes are 
reduced to round pins at the small ends and fitted tightly into 

holes bored in the head of 
the spindle, all the vanes 
being turned to have the 
same slant. Care will be 
required to bore these 
holes so that the vanes 
will be equidistant and re- 
volve in the same line. 

The weather-vane is set 
in a slanting groove cut 

FIG. 154. 

FIG. 155. 

in the bottom of the main frame (Fig. 155), and fastened with a 
couple of nails or screws. You can cut this groove by making 
two saw-kerfs and paring out the wood between with a chisel. 
The bent nail or wire shown on the top of the spindle in Fig. 
154 is to keep the latter from jumping out of the frame from a 
sudden change of wind. The vanes should all be shaved down 
until they are quite thin at the ends. 

Set up and finish this windmill like the one just described. 

A form which is good practice in whittling, and upon which 

A Few Toys 

you can also exercise your artistic faculties, is the " Happy Jack " 
shown in Fig. 156. Before beginning work read carefully Mark- 
ing, Rule, Square, Saw, Knife, Rasp, and File, and 
look up any other references. Fourteen inches is a 
good height for the figure itself. The outline of body 
and head can be sawed from a f " board and the edges 
trimmed and rounded and the details cut with a knife, 
or rasp and file can be used for the edges. The arms 
are made of separate pieces. Bore holes in the outer 
ends of the arms to hold the paddles (see Boring}. 
Also bore holes lengthways into 
the arms, from the ends next the 
body, and into these holes tightly 
drive the ends of a stiff metal rod 
long enough to also pass through 
the body at the shoul- 
ders (Fig. 156). Be- 
fore actually driving 
this rod into both 
arms you must bore 
the hole through the 
body. The holes in 
the arms should be 
smaller than the rod, 
so that it may drive 
in tightly without 
danger of getting 
loose, but the hole 
in the body must be 
larger than the rod, 
that the latter may 
revolve easily in it. 

Bore in from the cen- F IG - 

tre of each shoulder as carefully as you can, until the holes 
meet, rather than attempt to bore clear through from one 

ii4 Wood-Working for Beginners 

side, Put in the rod and drive on the arms, but not quite up to 
the shoulders. In driving on the arms be sure to keep the holes 
for the paddles in the right positions, so that the pad- 
[o GToJ dies will be in line as shown that is, so that when one 
FIG. 157. points directly upwards the other will point directly 
downwards. Also bore a hole upwards between the legs 
for the rod upon which the figure turns, and screw or 
nail a piece of metal (Fig. 157), with a hole for this rod, 
on the bottom of the legs (Fig. 156). Fig. 158 shows a 
way to put on the hat. The paddles can be made from 
FIG 8 a snm S^ e which will save the labour of tapering the 
thickness towards the ends. The paddles must be set 
obliquely, or turned part way around, as in the case of any wind- 
mill. When set at the proper angles the man will spin around 
while the paddles are revolving. Sandpaper the whole (see 
Sandpaper], and paint in various colours (see Painting). 

A set of boats to sail around in a circle is not hard to make 
(Fig. 159). Before beginning work read carefully Marking, 
Rule, Square, Saw, and look up any other references. 

Take two sticks from 2' to 4' in length, and from f" to 
square, of any fairly strong 
wood. Halve these sticks at 
the middle (see Halving) and 
fasten them together in the 
form of a cross, strengthening 
the joint (weakened by the 
halving) by nailing or screw- 
ing on a piece of board above 
or below, as shown in Fig. 159. 
The boats can be whittled 
from a piece of board on edge 
and fastened to the ends of the 
sticks by halving (Fig. 160), FlG - J 59- 

as well as nails or screws, or they can simply be flat pie-es of board 
shaped as in Fig. 161 and screwed or nailed on top of the sticks. 

A Few Toys 

FIG. 160. 

FIG. 161. 

In the first case the halving had best be done before the sticks 

are fastened together. One mast with a simple leg-of-mutton sail 

will answer for each boat. A little experimenting 

will show you how much to haul in the sheet. 

Each boat must, of course, "come about" and 

"jibe" once in every rotation of the apparatus. 

Sandpaper with rather fine sandpaper (see Sand 

paper], and paint as you wish (see Painting). 

The whole affair is balanced and pivoted on top 

of a pole in the same manner as the windmills just 

described, which see. 

A steamer with screw propeller can be made 
from a piece of board on edge, shaped as shown 
in Fig. 162, a small windmill with short and broad 
fans (Fig. 163), serving for the screw. Before beginning work 

read carefully Mark- 
ing, Rule, Square, Saw, 
Knife, Spokeshave, and 
look up any other ref- 
erences. This boat 
must be made of a 
board so as to give a 
thin section (Fig. 164), 
in order that the screw 
may not be shielded 
from the wind, for this 
vessel must always 
head to windward or 
the screw will not re- 
volve. To ensure this 
the fore and aft sail 

mUSt alwa ^ S be ke P* 
set and the sheet close- 

hauled. This sail answers the purpose of the weather-vanes 
of the windmills just described, It can be macle of tin or 

FIG. 162. 

n6 Wood-Working for Beginners 

any sheet metal, or even of thin wood. The rest of the rigging 
and the smokestack you can arrange as you wish. The bottom 
of the rudder can be supported by a little strip extending aft 
from the keel. For the other details of the work, see the wind- 
mills already described. 

Water-wheels. An undershot wheel, turned by the 
water passing beneath (Fig. 
165), can be easily made. It 
can be of any desired size, 
and of any wood readily 

Before beginning work read 
carefully Marking, Rule, 
Square, Saw, 
and look up 
any other ref- 

One like 
Fig. 166 can 

FIG. 165. be made by 
simply nail- 
ing a set of small boards or paddles in a radial arrange- 
ment between two disks of wood. A dowel or broomstick 
will do for the shaft and should be fitted tightly in the 
hole bored through the wheel (see Boring), but should turn 
freely in the bearings at the side. It will make a 
rather neater job to shape the paddles as in Fig. 167, 
^ ^ so that when put together the wheel will look like Fig. 
1 66, but this is not at all necessary, and it will work 
just as well to make plain rectangular paddles and 
FIG 167 s ' m ply na il tne d'sks on the outside edges (see Nailing]. 
If you have no saw with which to get out the disks 
you can have them sawed at the mill, or you can work them 

FIG. 166. 

A Few Toys 


out by describing the required circles and sawing a hexagon out- 
side of the line with a common saw, when the circle can be fin- 
ished with shave, hatchet, chisel, or knife (see Paring). Divide 
the circumference of each disk into as many parts as there are 
paddles and draw lines on the side to the centre, by which to 
nail the paddles in the right position. Start the nails on these 
lines and drive them nearly through before placing the paddles 
in position. Then nail one disk to the paddles, turn the wheel 
over and nail on the other disk. It is essential to a neat job 
that the paddles should all be of the same width. First make one 
edge straight. From this edge gauge the desired width on all the 
pieces (see Gauge] and saw or plane or trim, with knife, chisel, or 
shave, exactly to the line. If you make the paddles as shown in 
the cut, first square lines across at equal distances from one end 
(Fig. 167), and with a gauge set at a point equal to the thickness 
of the disks make lines parallel to each edge, and with the saw 
or saw and chisel, or even a knife, remove the pieces marked (see 
Paring) . 

The overshot wheel (Fig. 168) is harder to make, but is a 


FIG. 168. FIG. 169. 

livelier wheel. It is put together upon the same principle 
as the wheel just shown, except that the paddles, which do 

n8 Wood-Working for Beginners 

not project beyond the circumference of the disks, are not 
placed radially, but so that, with the addition of another 
set inserted to connect them, they form buckets. 

To lay off the lines for the buckets, divide the circumference 

of each disk as before, and from 
the centre describe a small circle, 
as shown in Fig. 169. From the 
points on the circumference draw 
lines tangent to the small circle. 
These lines will give the positions 
for the bottoms of the buckets. 
To complete the buckets mark 
from the circumference equal dis- 
tances on these lines, and from 
these last points draw lines as ab to 
the next points on the circumfer- 
ence. First, nail together with 
only the bottoms of the buckets 
(on the lines ca). Then fit in the 
other pieces, to complete the 
buckets, on the lines ab. The 
ends of these last pieces should 
properly be bevelled (see Bevel- 
ling) to make a fairly tight joint. 
The rest of the work is the same as for the undershot wheel. A 
larger form (but harder to make) is suggested in Fig. 170. See 
note under Windmills, above. 

Play Village. It is capital fun for several young people 
to design and build a miniature village, and it is certainly 
an instructive and quite inexpensive pastime. Such a vil- 
lage, planned and made recently by a family group of half 
a dozen youngsters, and facetiously named " Totlet Town," 
was constructed entirely of old boxes and packing-cases of 

FIG. 170. 

120 Wood-Working for Beginners 

all sizes up to three feet long, waste pieces of board, shingles, 
etc. ; but when painted and arranged in a corner of the lawn, 
with dirt roads, and paths, small evergreen shade trees and 
hedges, well-sweeps, miniature fences, and other accessories, 

it made so pretty a 

picture as to be the ad- 
miration of all who 
saw it. If you have 
as good a time in mak- 
ing such a village as 
these young people 
did, the experiment 
will be a success. You 
can easily think up 
many additions to the 
suggestions here 

The buildings were 
made by s e le c t i n g 
boxes of the desired 
proportions, sawing 
out spaces for the 
doors, adding the 
FlG - I?I - roofs and any other 

alterations. The chimneys were made of blocks painted 
red. The doors were made of pieces of board and hinged 
with leather. Bay-windows and the like were made of 
blocks of the required shape nailed to the boxes. The 
windows and blinds were represented by painting. Some of 
the roofs were shingled with pieces of shingles. A sugges- 
tion for a light-house is shown in Fig. 171. 

Considerable care in the use of the tools is called for to 
make these buildings neatly. Much of the effect depends, 

A Few Toys 


also, upon the care with which the painting is done (see 
Painting), and the taste used in the selection of the colours. 
Brighter colours are suitable for a little village of this sort 
than would be in good taste for real houses. White with 
green blinds is good, of course ; or yellow can be used. The 
roofs should be painted. Red roofs are very effective. 

Before beginning work, read carefully Marking, Rule, 
Square, Saw, Plane, Nailing, Withdrawing Nails, etc. 

FIG. 172. 

Dolls' House. The house shown in Fig. 172 is quite 
easily made, and a shallow affair like this has the advantage 

122 Wood-Working for Beginners 

of being more convenient than a deep one about arranging 
the contents. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, and look up any other references. 

Pine and whitewood are suitable, or any wood can be used that 
is not hard to work. 

It can be made ot any desired size. Three or four feet wide 
and a little higher in the middle will probably be suitable for 
ordinary cases, and twelve or fifteen inches will be a good depth 
(from front to back). 

The construction is plain. The roof and sides are to be cut 
from dressed stock of uniform width, and from " to ^" in thick- 

Carefully true one edge, if it is not already true, and get out the 
bottom board, then the upright sides, and then the roof. The 
bevels at the highest point of the roof and where the roof joins 
the sides you must mark with the bevel (taking the slant 
from your drawing), or you can find it by arranging two strips 
to cross at the desired angle and marking the bevel by them 
(see levelling}. To saw these bevels requires much care. Draw 
lines by the square on both sides, as well as the angle on the 
edge, and putting each board in the vise saw carefully and 

The three floors should be narrower than the outside of the 
house by just the thickness of the stock to be used for the back, 
and rectangular openings must be sawed from one of the back 
corners at the head of the stairs to allow the dolls to pass from one 
story to another. If the sides of the house are 14" wide, make 
these floors 13^" wide, arid use " or f " stock for the back. Also 
mark and saw out the windows. To do this, first bore a 
series of holes inside of the line (see Boring] and cut out what- 
ever wood may be necessary until you make a slot in which to 
start the saw. Any roughness left from the holes can be trimmed 
with knife, chisel, or file (see Paring). Nail these parts 

A Few Toys 


FIG. 173. 

together, just as in making a box, carefully sighting across the face 
to see that the front and back do not wind, or use winding-sticks 
(q. v.). Also test with the square to see that the sides are at right 
angles with the bottom. Get out stock for the back carefully 
(with the boards running up and down) so that the boards will 
be square at the bottom, and when these pieces are fitted in place 
to form the back they will ensure the 
house being square. The slant by 
which to cut the top of the back can 
be laid off by measurement from your 
working drawing or the back can be 
put in place and the lines marked 
directly from the under side of the 
roof. When fitted, nail the back 
securely in place, first cutting the 
windows as before. Then fit in 
the upright partitions, first cutting the doorways. The staircase 
can be made easily if you have, or can saw from the corner of a 
larger piece, a triangular strip which can be cut in short sec- 
tions to use for the steps. Nail these to a thin strip of board 
(from the under side) and fasten the whole in position (Fig. 
173). The chimney can be made of a block with a notch sawed 
to fit the roof, or it can be made of four pieces, box-fashion. 
Glass for the windows can be held in place by gluing strips of 
cloth or paper around the edges, or thin strips can be nailed 
around with fine brads. Thin strips can be nailed around the 
window openings on the outside, if you wish. 

All the pieces should be neatly planed and scraped before 
putting together, and, when entirely put together, the whole 
should be carefully sandpapered with fine sandpaper. The parts 
coming on the inside had best be sandpapered before putting to- 
gether, however, but be sure not to do this until all cutting with 
the tools has been done. Set all the nails carefully (see Nail- 
sef). The whole can be painted in one or more colours (see 
Painting], and portieres, window drapery, etc., can be added 

124 Wood-Working for Beginners 

according to your taste and the materials at command. The 
inside can be papered, if preferred. 

A more thoroughly workmanlike way is to groove the bottom 
into the sides, the upright partitions into the floor boards, and 
to cut rabbets around on the back edge of the sides, roof, and 
bottom, into which to set the backboards. This involves a good 

FIG. 174. 

deal more work and care in laying out the work (see Grooving). 
If you have the pieces got out at a mill it can be easily done, 

It may be a convenience to screw castors on the bottom. A 
door (with a door-bell or knocker) can be added to the front of 
the hall, if thought best. 

A house which can be closed is shown in Fig. 174. The con- 
struction is quite similar to the preceding. A strip must be 
fastened above and below the large doors, as shown, that they 
may open without striking either the roof or the floor on which 
the house stands. The little door, representing the entrance to 

A Few Toys 125 

the house when closed and shown in the closed half, can be 
made to open independently and can have a bell or knocker. 

If this house is made quite deep (from front to back) it can 
easily be divided lengthways by a partition and made into a 
double house, the back side being made to open in the same way 
as the side here shown. 



THE sizes and shapes of these houses and cages will de- 
pend upon the animals for which they are built and 
the places you have to put them. Frequently they can be 
built to advantage against the side of a building, or a fence, 
or in a corner, and boxes can be utilised in various ways. 

Make the houses, cages, and runways as large as you can 
afford, for there is much more danger of the pets being 
cramped and crowded than of their having too much room. 

Wire netting or wire cloth (held in place by staples) 
should be freely used, as ventilation is very important for 
the health and comfort of the animals. Special openings 
should always be made for cleaning the houses or cages in 
case all parts cannot be conveniently reached from the doors, 
for cleanliness is of the utmost importance in all such struct- 
ures. The floors of the larger houses should always slant or 
have holes provided for drainage. Covering the floors with 
sheets of zinc will promote cleanliness. In the smaller cages 
removable pans or trays can often be used (Fig. 190). 
Houses and cages with wooden floors should always be 
raised from the ground on posts, blocks, or stones, to avoid 
dampness. Clean sand scattered over the floor and fre- 
quently renewed will contribute much to the cleanliness of 
the cages. The bedding should also be changed frequently. 

In the case of those animals which use their teeth for 
gnawing, the corners and angles can be protected by tacking 


Houses for Animals 127 

on strips of wire cloth, tin, or zinc, but there is no need to 
do this over the flat surfaces. In the case of cages or houses 
(and the runways) which have the ground for the floor and 
are to be inhabited by animals that will burrow or dig their 
way out, the wire netting should be continued underground 
to a considerable depth, or it can be carried down a little 
way and then bent to lie horizontally, forming a sort of wire 
floor, over which the dirt can be replaced, and the animals 
will be unable to tunnel their way out; but in all such cases 
care must be taken to proportion the mesh of the netting 
and the size of the wire to the strength and escaping powers 
of the animals. 

Houses for animals often look pretty when made in imita- 
tion of real houses, but when you do this choose simple 
types of good proportions, and do not try to copy all the 
little details of the large houses. Avoid " gingerbread " 
work, and do not cover your houses with meaningless jig- 
sawed scroll work and rows of towers and pinnacles, and do 
not use all the colours of the rainbow in painting them. 

For houses, hutches, boxes, cages, etc., which are to be 
kept out of doors or in some outbuilding, ordinary machine- 
planed stock of fair quality is sufficiently good, and planing 
and smoothing by hand is usually a waste of labour; but if 
you wish to make a small cage or box to be kept in the 
house, and to be nicely finished or painted, good clear stock 
should be used, and the final smoothing done by hand. 

In case you wish to make several cages or boxes of the 
same pattern, as, for example, like Fig. 178, it is much less 
work to go through the process with two or more at a time 
than to make each separately. 

A house for pets should not be built, as is sometimes 
done, on a platform or base projecting beyond the base of 
the house, as this tends to collect and retain moisture and 

128 Wood-Working for Beginners 

dampness, but should be clear of any platform, like an 
ordinary dwelling-house, so that the rain will be shed 
directly upon the ground. 

When two or more boards are required for each side of 
the roof it is usually better to lay them up and down, as in 
Fig. 187, rather than horizontally or lengthways, because a 
roof laid in this way is better about shedding the water, 
which tends to collect in the cracks if the boards are laid 
horizontally. For the rougher structures the hinges can be 
screwed flat upon the outside (as shown in Fig. 179), but 
for nice work they should be fitted in the usual way. (See 

Before beginning work upon these cages and houses, read care- 
fully Marking, Rule, Square, Saw, Plane, Nailing, and look up 
any other references. 

Cheap and serviceable cages and houses can be built by simply 
driving posts or stakes into the ground and fastening wire cloth 
or netting to them, much as you would build a fence. This 
wire-fenced enclosure can be covered with a wooden roof if de- 
sired. A runway and playground can easily be made in this way. 

FIG. 175. 

FIG. 176. 

A more portable arrangement can be made by putting together 
wooden frames covered with wire. Very simple forms are shown 

Houses for Animals 


in Fig. 175. By putting together four or more of such frames a 
cage can readily be made which can be covered with a wooden 
roof or with wire (Fig. 176). If these frames are fastened with 
screws or screw-eyes and hooks, the whole can quickly be taken 
apart if desired. 

A very simple cage can be easily made, on the principle of the 
common chicken coop, with a few boards 
or slats and a little wire netting (Fig. 
177), but a house of this sort is not espe- 
cially desirable except for economy of 
materials and labour. The construction 
is too simple to require description. 

A much better form is that with upright 
sides, or with one slanting side. Figs. 
178 and 179 show an excellent arrangement, easily made. It 
can be made any desired size or proportions and is suitable 
for quite a variety of animals. If small, |" stock will be 
thick enough, but if large, |" stock should be used. The 
construction is similar to that of a common box (see Box-making, 
page 219). One corner of each end should be sawed off slant- 
ingly (Fig. 178), and a rectangular piece cut from the opposite 
corner, as shown, before the box is nailed together. The bevel- 

FIG. 177. 

FIG. 178. 

FIG. 179. 

ling of the edges of the top and front boards can be done after 
the box is put together (see Bevelling]. For making the door, 
see Doors, in Part V. The hinged board at the bottom gives 
access for cleaning. If for indoors, and to be finished or painted, 

13 Wood-Working for Beginners 

clear stock should be selected and the outside carefully smoothed. 
(See Plane, Scraper, Sandpaper, Finishing, and Painting.} 

For something more like a house, the design shown in Fig. 180 

FIG. 1 80. 

is good and of simple construction. This can be made of any 
size from that of a small box to a small house. For the latter, 
see Part III. {House-building for Beginners). 

To make a little house of this pattern first get out the bottom 
of the required dimensions, and then the ends, which are alike 
and to be nailed to the ends of the bottom. Take pains to be 
accurate in getting out the pieces, or the house will be askew 
when put together. The construction of the sides is plain. The 
door can be made as in Fig. 180 (see 
Doors), or the sides can be entirely of wire 
and the door placed at the end (Fig. 181). 
The roof is simply nailed down in place, 
one side being got out as much wider than 
the other as the thickness of the stock, so 
that one will lap over the edge of the other 
at the ridge. If the angle formed at the 

top is not a right angle, however, the edge 
FIG. i8i. 

of the narrower roof-board must be bev 

elled according to the angle (see Bevelling). 

A house of this sort can be made with one end closed, while 

Houses for Animals 

the other remains open (Fig. 182). This is a good arrangement 
for many animals. First get out the floor, then the pieces for 
the closed end, cutting out the doorway and a window, if one is 

FIG. 182. 

desired. These openings can be cut as shown on page 122. 
Next get out the framework for the open end and fasten it in 
position. A door can be fitted wherever desired and the roof 
put on, as just shown. 

A house or cage, chiefly open-work, with two sleeping-boxes 
or nests (Fig. 183) is similar in general construction. This is 
suitable for indoors (as in 
an outbuilding). If to be 
left exposed to the weather, 
a solid roof can be added, 
or it can be covered with 
canvas or something of the 
sort when necessary. The 
construction is similar to 
that of those already de- 
scribed. This cage can be 
used for pigeons and other 

FIG. 183. 

pets, and can be made of any size, according to circumstances. 
For the door, see Doors and Hinges, in Part V. The box at- 
tachments can best be made at the same time, just alike 

132 Wood- Working for Beginners 

(see Box-making, page 219), and fastened to the sides of the 
house, the doorways having been cut in the sides before 
the house was put together. If these boxes or nests cannot 
be readily reached for cleaning, they should be hinged to the 
main house, or have special openings with lids or doors, so 
that they can be kept clean. The ridge-pole is simply a strip of 
board placed horizontally between the upper ends of the rafters. 

Rabbit Hutch. A simple rabbit-house, or hutch, can be 

made by putting 
together a good- 
sized box, parti- 
tioning off one 
end, to be closed 
by a door, and 
leaving the rest 
open, except for 

FIG. 184. 
he necessary wire sides (Fig. 184). 

This is made just like a box (see Box-making, page 219), the 
other details being similar to those already 
shown. A sliding-door (Fig. 185) can be 
inserted, if desired, to cover the hole between 
the closed and open parts. The hutch 
should be raised from the ground to avoid 
dampness, and proper arrangements for 

cleanliness made, as referred to above. 

FIG. 185. 

A more elaborate hutch (Fig. 186) can be constructed in a simi- 
lar manner to the houses already shown. Access to the open 
part can be had by means of the doors or lids on top. For the 
doors, see Doors and Hinges. The slides for the door at the end 
can be made by cutting a rabbet at the edge of a square stick, 
as shown, or the rabbet can be formed by using strips of different 
widths, letting the wider lap over the narrower so as to form the 

Houses for Animals 

rabbet. Both doors can be made to swing in the usual way, of 
course, if preferred. Where the two sides of the roof meet at 

the top, the edges must be bevelled (see Bevelling}. 

Kennel. There are many kinds of dog-houses, and the 
style and size must, of course, depend upon the dog and the 

A good kennel (Fig. 187) for a small dog can be made very 
much as you would make a box (see Box-making, page 219). If 
for a very small dog the ends, sides, floor, and sides of the roof 
can each be made of one 
piece, but ordinarily these 
parts will each be made of 
two or more pieces. 
Matched boards are suit- 
able. First get out the bot- 
tom, then the sides and 
ends. If you use boards 
with square edges you must 
of course use pieces of dif- 
ferent widths, so that the 
cracks between them will not 

meet at the corners, or put 

FIG 187 
posts at the corners. This 

is the best way to do with matched boards, if the house is at all 
large. Nail these parts together. It will be easiest to cut the slant 

134 Wood-Working for Beginners 

at the top of each end the gable so that the sides of the roof 
will meet in a right angle. This looks well and saves the need of 
bevelling the edges of the roof-boards. An opening for the door- 
way should be cut in one of the ends before the roof is nailed on. 
If you do not use matched boards, a strip should be nailed on the 
inside at each side of the doorway, to keep the boards together. 
The roof-boards for one side should be as much longer than those 
for the other as the thickness of the stock. The same applies 
to the width of the saddle-boards which cover the extreme top. 
If the roof is not made of matched boards, battens should be 
nailed over the cracks as shown in Part III. 

For a large dog a kennel should be built more like a real 

house and not so 
much like a box. A 
structure with a frame 
(Fig. 188) can be built 
of any size suitable for 
a kennel, and will be 
more durable than the 
preceding form. 

For the frame, small 
joists, or strips of plank 

of any size from i ^" x 2" to 2" x 3" can be used. First get out the 
sills or bottom pieces of the framework, nailing them together at 
the corners to form a rectangular frame, as shown in Fig. 189. 
Then get out the corner posts and fasten them in place, and on 
top of them fasten the plates (a second horizontal frame like that 
at the bottom), and see that all this framework is rectangular and 
free from winding. The sills and plates can be halved at the corners 
(see Halving}, but this is not really necessary in so small a house, 
as the boarding adds strength to the joints. The frame can be 
temporarily held in place until the boarding is put on by nailing 
on as many diagonal strips (Fig. 189) as may be required. Two 

Houses for Animals 

rafters at each end should next be put in place, their ends having 
been cut at an angle of 45 (see Mitreing] and the upper ends 
being nailed to a strip of board which serves for a ridge-pole. An 
intermediate rafter on each side will add stiffness to the roof. 

The floor should next be 
laid, as it will be incon- 
venient in so small a house 
to do this after the sides 
are put on. 
The sides and 
boarded with 
sheathing o r 

FIG. 189. boards laid Fi S- 

vertically, cutting out the doorway and a small window in 
the back gable for ventilation. The roof can next be laid with 
the boards running horizontally, or lengthwise, as this house is to 
be shingled. The shingles can be dipped in creosote stain or 
paint to good advantage before laying. After the roof has been 
shingled the saddle-boards can be put on and the house will be 
ready for painting (see Painting). Another form of doorway is 
shown in Fig. 189^. For the various details of a framed structure 
of this sort, see Part III. {House-building for Beginners}. 

The author of House and Pet Dogs gives the following sug- 
gestion : 

" The best device is an ordinary single kennel forty-eight 
inches by thirty-three inches, with an A roof, but with a detached 
bottom of the same size as the outside ground measurement of the 
kennel. This bottom is hinged by two stout strap-iron hinges 
to the side of the kennel, and is provided with two wooden axles, 
to which are fitted four wooden wheels, say four inches in diam- 
eter. When closed it looks like any other kennel on wheels. It 

136 Wood-Working for Beginners 

can be easily moved by one person from damp spots, etc.; and 
by turning the kennel back upon its hinges the bedding can be 
daily sunned and aired and the kennel washed and purified 
without trouble. The wheels also serve to keep the bottom 
clear of the ground, and allow of a free circulation of air 

Squirrel House. The small squirrel house, or cage, 
shown in Fig. 190, is made like a box (see Box-making, 

FIG. 190. 

page 219), with the exception of the roof. The construction 
is similar to that of the houses already described. 

It can be made of -J" or f" stock. The dimensions of the 
bottom can be made to agree with those of any baking-pan you 
may have, as shown. The slide in the roof can be made of zinc 

Houses for Animals 

or tin. That in the side can be of either zinc or wood, 
the wire cloth has been 
nailed on a strip of wood can 
be nailed around the front 
edge as a moulding. The 
little sleeping-box in the up- 
per corner can be readily 
reached from the slide in the 
roof and connects with the 
floor of the house by a little 


FIG. 191. 

door and a flight of steps 

(Fig. 191). The latter can 

be made as shown in Fig. 173. The most difficult part of this 

house to make nicely is the joining of the roof-boards. These 

must be bevelled at the ridge and the tops of the ends must also 

be bevelled where they join the 

roof (see Bevelling}. For other 

details, see the houses already 


A more elaborate affair, 
shown below, can be made quite 
large and will give room 
for a whole family 
of squirrels. This 
house is, however, 
ably more 
difficult to 
make than 
the others 
shown in 
this chap- 
ter, and if 
you have 

Wood- Working for Beginners 

not already acquired some skill as a workman you had best 
be content with a simpler design. 

Four or five feet by about three feet will not be too large for 
the ground dimensions of the main part of the house. Regular 

sills can first 
be nailed to- 
gether for the 
bottom of the 
main house 
and ell in the 
way shown in 
Fig. 189. 

These sills can 
be from i" x 2" 
to 2" x 3". Per- 
haps an easier 
way is that shown 
in Fig. 192, in 
which three cross 
cleats or sills are 
laid and the floor 
nailed directly to 
these. When the 
boards shown in 
Fig. 192 are 
nailed to the floor 
boards and the 
sills the bottom 
will be sufficient- 
ly stiff for a 

squirrel house. The sides and ends of the ell can be made of 
boards nailed together like a box, the openings for the doors, 
windows, etc., being first cut out; but the main part of the house 
should have posts at the corners to which the boarding at the 
ends is to be nailed. Rafters should also be put in at each 
gable. Plain sheathing will look better for the outside of this 
house than that with beads. After the outside has been boarded 
and the upper floors put in, the roofs and the cupola can be 
added. If the cupola is too difficult it can be omitted, as it 
is a luxury to which the average squirrel is unaccustomed. 
The stairs, the openings in the floors, the doorways, the 

Houses for Animals 

sleeping-box, the revolving wire cage, the tree, and the swing in 
the cupola, are shown in Fig. 192. The stairs can be made as shown 
in Fig. 192 ; strips nailed vertically at the outside corners of the 
house, as in a real house, will give a more finished appearance. 
The window casings can be made by nailing strips on the outside. 
The glass can be held in place by strips, or small rabbets can be 
cut as in a window sash. For the shingling of the roof, see Part 
III. {House-building for Beginners). Each door can be made of 
a single piece of board, cleated (see Doors]. For any other de- 
tails, see the houses just described and also Part III, {House- 
building for Beginners), and Painting. 

Several cages of various sizes can readily be built together, 

FIG. 193. 

as shown in Fig. 193, which is merely a suggestion, for, of 
course, the shape, size, arrangement, and number of com- 
partments must depend on the number and kinds of animals 
and the situation. Various combinations will suggest them- 
selves as occasion calls for them. 

If you have such creatures as frogs, turtles, lizards, etc., 
a water-tank should be provided. This can easily be made 
by taking a tightly made flat box and caulking the cracks, or 
pouring hot tar or pitch into them and also tarring or paint- 
ing the whole surface of the outside. A board can be fitted 

140 Wood-Working for Beginners 

slantingly from the bottom to the edge, at one or both ends, 
to form an incline by which the users of this miniature pond 
can crawl in and out of the water. The box must, of course, 
be sunk in the ground inside of the cage. 

For larger houses, as for hens, etc., see, also, the princi- 
ples of construction of somewhat larger structures in Part 
III. (House -building for Beginners], 

Travelling Cage. A small box (Fig. 194) in which to 
carry a kitten, a squirrel, a bird, or any small animal, when 

FIG. 194. 

travelling, is often very useful and much better than the 
bags and baskets so often used for the purpose. 

All that is necessary is to make a small box of " stock (see 
Box-making, page 219), with one side open (to be covered with 
wire cloth or netting), and the opposite side made in two parts, 
the upper of which is hinged to serve as a door or lid. Strips of 
moulding can be nailed on with brads along the edges where the 
wire is fastened, the door can be fastened with hook and screw- 
eye or catch, and a handle fastened upon the top. It is a 
good plan .o round the edges of a box which is to be carried 
around. If this box is neatly got out and put together and care- 
fully smoothed and finished it will look well and serve for many 



of stilts. 

-There is very little to say about the manufacture 
The construction is obvious (Figs. 195 and 196), 

FIG. 195. 

FIG. 196. 

the size and arrangement depending on your own size and 
skill. The handles can either be long, or reach up as high 
as the hand, or short and strapped to the legs. 


142 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Tilt or See-Saw. One of small size is shown in Fig. 
197. The exact proportions given are not necessary, pro- 
vided you make it strong and so that it will not tip over. 

FIG. 197. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Nailing, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

First make the standard (Fig. 198) of any sound plank ij" to 
2" thick and 12" or more in width. Get out the pieces to the 
dimensions before beginning to put together, the ends of the 
braces H being cut at a mitre (see Mitring). Square the line 
EF across the plank B at the middle (Fig. 199). Drive three or 
four stout wire nails (3" to 4" long, according to the thickness of 
the plank) nearly through the plank on this line. Stand the 
piece A on end under these nails and drive them through firmly 

into it (Fig. 200), keeping 
the two boards at right 
angles. Bore holes with a 
\" bit (see Boring) in each 
end of the pieces H, as 
shown, taking pains not to 
FIG. 199. FIG. 200. get them too near the edge. 

Screw these braces in place with screws from 2^" to 3^" long 
(according to the thickness of the plank), keeping the piece A 
at right angles with the plank B (see Screws). Screw this frame 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 143 

FIG. 201. 

on the cross-pieces C and D, as shown. Nails can be used 
throughout, but screws are better. With plane, drawknife, or 
spokeshave (see Part V. for these tools), round the top edge of A. 
The tilting-plank should be of spruce, ash, hard pine, or any 
strong wood, and had best be from 
i^" to 2" thick, according to the 
length, which can be 12' or 14'. 
It should of course be planed. 
Next get out a few cleats %" 
square, or thicker, and screw them 
on the under side of the tilting-plank at the middle (Fig. 201, 
which shows the under side of the plank), so that the spaces be- 
tween them will be a little wider than the thickness of the up- 
right piece A just enough to allow the plank to tilt freely. Nail 
strips on the edge, to keep 
the plank from slipping off 
sideways, shaving a little 
from the edges of A at the 
top if necessary. Finally run 
over the edges with a plane 

(see Plane), and 
sandpaper the plank 
to prevent slivers. 

Simply paint or oil 
and varnish (see 
Painting or Finish- 

A larger and 
FIG. 202. more elaborate af- 

fair, adjustable to different heights, is shown in Fig. 202. 

First get out the main pieces to the dimensions (Figs. 203, 204, 
205). The upright pieces should be mortised into the planks 
on which they rest (Fig. 206) (see Mortising). Gauge a line 

144 Wood-Working for Beginners 

lengthways along the centre of each side of the uprights (see 
Gauge} and mark points (say 6" apart) on these lines for holes 
for the iron rod on which the tilting-plank rests, taking pains to 

FIG. 203. 

FIG. 204. 

place them alike on the two uprights. Then bore f " or " holes 
(see Boring}, according to the size of rod you can get. Next fit 
the cross bar at the top. This can simply be nailed down or 

FIG. 205. 

FIG. 207. 

FIG. 208. 

fitted between the uprights (Fig. 207), or made with a shoulder 
(Fig. 208), which will add to the stiffness of the frame. The 
rest of the construction of the standard is plain, and similar to 
that just described. 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 145 

Iron rods can be used for braces, if you wish (Fig. 209). 

The tilting-plank should be 16' or 18' long, and of 2" plank. 
A thread with nut on one end 
of the iron rod on which the 
plank rests will keep the rod 
from slipping out of place. 
The plank can be fastened 
to the rod by iron straps or 
even staples, or a box-like 

bearing can be quickly made FJG 2QQ FlG 2IQ 

(Fig. 210). Washers can be 
placed between the plank and the uprights if necessary. 
Smooth the edges with a plane (see Plane) and sandpaper the 
plank. Simply paint or oil and varnish (see Painting and 
Finishing] . 

Skis. To make as perfect skis as possible they should be 
of rift stock, that is, split out instead of sawed; but this 
may seldom be practicable for you and is not really neces- 
sary. Good straight-grained sawed stock will answer, but 
be sure that you get clear, strong stock air-dried if 
possible. Always avoid kiln-dried stock for anything which 
is to be put to sudden and violent strain, if you can get that 
which has been naturally seasoned (see Chapter III.). 

Ash is very good (white ash the best) ; spruce, light and 
strong; oak, strong but heavy. Any strong and elastic 
wood will do, if not too heavy. If you can get stock which 
is naturally sprung in a good curve upward and is satisfac- 
tory in other respects, take it, for a convex curve upward 
underneath the foot gives spring and elasticity and helps 
prevent the skis from becoming hollowed too much by the 
weight of the body. This curve is not necessary, but the 
better ones are purposely so made. Skis are sometimes 
used in very rude forms as two strips of wood with the 

Wood- Working for Beginners 

front ends shaved down and bent up at an angle. Small 
ones can even be made of staves from barrels, but these are 
very unsatisfactory. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Drawknife, Plane, Spokeshave, in Part V., and look up any other 

First get out the pieces of the required size. The length for a 
man is usually about 8' and the width about 4", though they are 

FIG. 211. 

FIG. 212. 

used even as long as 12' or 13'. From 5' to 8' long and from 3^" 
to 4" wide will probably be right for you, but the dimensions de- 
pend on your size, of course. Next taper the forward ends, as 
shown in Fig. 211. You can mark both edges alike by drawing 
the curve free-hand or with a spline (see Spline) on a piece of 
stiff paper, from which you can cut out a pattern for drawing the 
curve on the wood. Next make the pieces thinner towards the 
ends (Fig. 212), noticing that the forward end is thinner than 

the after end and is shaved down 
more quickly so that the stock may 
be thin where the toe bends up. This 
requires great care unless the grain 
is very straight, for a little hasty 
slashing will make too deep a cut (see 


FIG. 213. 

FIG. 214. 

Paring, etc.). Good forms are shown in Figs. 213 and 214, the 
former showing sections at the middle and the latter nearer the 
ends, but as the toe is approached the top should become flat for 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 147 

ease in bending. This shaping can best be done by the draw- 
knife, spokeshave, or plane. 

Bend the points of the toes upwards about 6" above the hori- 
zontal line to ensure their riding clear of obstructions, but there 

FIG. 215. 

FIG. 216. 

FIG. 217. 

is no gain in curling them up a foot. For the process of bend- 
ing, see Bending Wood. Then turning the skis over, gauge (see 
Gauge) parallel lines for the grooves on the bottom. Work the 
grooves out with the gouge or with the saw and chisel (see 
Gouge and Grooving} unless you chance to have the plane designed 
for this purpose. 1 Make these grooves shallower as they ap- 
proach the toe, leaving no groove 
where the toe bends up. 

Balance the skis lengthways on 
a stick or your finger and put stout 
leather straps just forward of the 

balancing point. These can be riveted or even screwed to the 
edges of the skis (Fig. 215), but a better way is to put them 
through slots cut in the wood (Fig. 216). Gauge accurately for 
the slots, marking on both edges, and bore in from both sides 
(see Boring}. The slots must then be cleaned out with chisel 
and file (see Mortising}. An easier way and fully as strong is 

Fio. 219. FIG. 220. FIG. 221. 

to cut grooves (Fig. 217) with saw and chisel and cover them 
with thin strips securely screwed on (Fig. 218). Some use a 

1 All of this work can be done cheaply at any mill, leaving the rounding or 
bevelling of the edges and the bending of the ends for you to do yourself, and 
for that matter the rounding or bevelling can be done by machine. 

148 Wood-Working for Beginners 

second lighter strap to go above the heel. This can be screwed 
to the edges if you use it. Strips screwed across under the in- 
step (Figs. 219 and. 220), or behind the heel (Fig. 221), to pre- 
vent the foot sliding back are sometimes used. 1 For racing the 
Norwegian skis are turned up at the rear end also. 

The pole, like the skis, must be of light, strong stuff, and can 
be round or eight-sided (see Rounding Sticks). To shape the 
tapering end make the stick uniformly eight-sided for the whole 
length first and then plane each side down at the end to get the 
taper. The hole in the disk must not be quite so large as the 

FIG. 222. 

diameter of the pole, so that it cannot slip up farther than the 
tapering part (Fig. 222). Many dispense with the disk. 

Finally smooth skis and pole with scraper (see Scraper) or 
glass, and sandpaper (see Sandpaper), and finish with plenty of 
raw linseed oil or with oil, shellac, and varnish, in successive 
coats (see Finishing). If open-grained wood is used it can be 
filled to good advantage with a coat of good wood- filler well 
rubbed in (see Finishing), and the bottoms can also be rubbed 
with wax or tallow, if you wish. 

Toboggan. This is now commonly made of narrow 
strips, in principle much like several skis placed side by 

1 Mrs. Alec Tweedie says of the way skis are worn in Norway : 
" The toes are fastened by a leather strap. Another strap goes round the 
heel in a sort of loop fashion, securing the foot, but at the same time giving 
the heel full play. A special ski boot is worn over enormously thick horsehair 
stockings. This boot has no hard sole at all, and, instead of being sewn at 
the sides, the large piece of thick leather which goes under the foot is brought 
well over the top and secured to what might ordinarily be called a leather 
tongue. At the back of the boot is a small strap, which is used to fasten the 
ski securely to the boot. Once fixed on the ski, the boot is so secure no fall 
can loosen it, and the only way to extricate the foot is to undo the three straps." 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 149 

side an easier form to make than the older pattern, formed 
of one or two wide pieces, as originally made by the Indians. 

White oak and hickory are probably the best woods. Ash, 
maple, birch, basswood, or any hard wood which can be 
bent and has elasticity can be used. As in the case of the 
ski, to make the best possible the pieces should be rift, or 
split out, rather than sawed, to ensure straight grain ; but, 
as this may be out of the question for you, be sure to select 
the straightest-grained clear stock you can find, for, besides 
the bending of the ends, there is great strain put upon it in 
coasting. For the same reason use air-dried stock and avoid 
kiln-dried if possible. 

Probably the best and most scientific way to fasten the 
parts of a toboggan together is the old way adopted by the 
Indians of binding or lashing with thongs. This gives great 
elasticity and allows the toboggan to adjust itself to the in- 
equalities of the surface to a greater degree than is possible 
with the tightly fastened joints now in use. You can try 
this way instead of that given below, if you prefer, but be 
sure to cut little grooves in the bottom for the thongs or 
cords to fit in, or they will be quickly worn through. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

The size can vary from 3' long by i' wide to 10' or 12' long by 
20" to 22" wide; 4' long by 15" or 16" wide is good for a single 
toboggan; 8' long 
by 1 8" is a good 
size for three or 
more persons. You 
will probably find FlG - 22 3- 

the stock most readily in the form of 12' boards. One-half inch in 
the rough will be thick enough, though you may have to take inch 
(rough) or ^" (planed) boards. Let us make an 8' toboggan (Fig. 

150 Wood- Working for Beginners 

223). Have the stock planed and sawed in strips about 
10' long, 2^" wide, and not less than J" nor more than |" in 
thickness. If they are tapered a little in thickness for 12" 
or 15" at the forward end they can be bent more easily, 
but do not shave them down too much (see Plane and Draw- 
shave). Smooth the bottom surfaces 
of the strips with plane and scraper 
(see Scraper] It is hardly necessary 

to plane the upper surfaces by hand, 
FIG. 224. r . . v ... , , r i 

as the planer will leave them fairly 

smooth, though they will look a little nicer smoothed by hand. 
Plane the edges. Next get out eight cross-bars or cleats 18" 
long x -f" thick and from i^" to 3" wide. If wide they can 
be tapered at the edges, and if narrow, the edges should be 
rounded (Fig. 224). Get out also two or three cleats 18" long, 
" thick, and i^-" wide, and one piece 18" long and about f" x" 
(half of a hardwood broomstick will do). 

The long strips must now be bent at the forward end (see 
Bending Wood}. After they are bent take the eight cleats and, lay- 
ing one across the strips as it is to go, mark points for three holes at 
each strip (Fig. 224). Bore T V' or " holes in the cross strips and 
countersink them very carefully (see Boring and Countersink), so 
that the heads of the screws will be very slightly lower than the 
surface sunk barely enough to prevent any corners or edges 
from sticking above the surface. Take great care not to counter- 
sink too deeply, for the long strips are so thin that the screws 
may come through on the under side. Mark and bore the other 
seven cleats by this first one. 

Now take one cleat, to be put on at the rear end 8' from the 
beginning of the curve. Screw one end of this cleat in place 
(see Screws), test with the square, and screw the other end. 
Then put in the intermediate screws, driving them all firmly 
home, and saw off the ends of the long strips just beyond this 
cleat. Square lines across every foot to the curve at the front, 
and screw on the other cleats. The length of the screws (which 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 151 

can be quite stout) should be such that they will almost, but not 
quite, go through to the under side of the toboggan. Be careful 
about this or the points will have to be filed off. Then screw the 
smaller cleats on the inside of the curve. Screw the remaining 
(stouter) cleat on the outside of the curve at the place where the 
curve is to end, and then saw off the projecting ends of the strips 
by this cleat. By thongs, belt-lacing, or 
strong cord at the ends of the cleat last put 
on fasten the curve (which will naturally 
tend to straighten somewhat) in the required 
position to the cleat beneath (Fig. 225). 

Side hand-rails can be fastened at each side 
on top of the cross-cleats (Fig. 223). A com- 
mon way is to make every other cross-cleat 
thicker (say ") and fasten the side bars to 
these with large and stout screw-eyes, or 
notches can be cut on the under side of these 
thicker cleats before they are screwed on, 
and by passing thongs or cord through these 
notches the side-bars can be lashed in place. The side bars you 
can plane round or eight-sided (see Rounding Sticks] out of strips 
of any strong wood. 

Sandpaper the bottom and finish with plenty of raw linseed oil, 
or with oil, shellac, and varnish, in successive coats (see Finish- 
ing). If open-grained wood is used it can be filled to good 
advantage with a coat of good wood-filler well rubbed in (see 
Finishing), and the bottom can be waxed or rubbed with tallow, 
if you wish. 

If you are willing to put in the labour you can bevel or slope 
off one side of each of the long strips (except the 
two outer ones) so as to leave the strip thickest in 
the middle (Fig. 226). Unless you are willing to 
take pains enough to do it nicely (which will take 
some time), it will be best not to attempt it at all, or 
FIG. 226. to have it done at a mill. If you have a good hill 

FIG. 225. 

i5 2 Wood-Working for Beginners 

you can go well enough with the flat strips and it is not important 
to round them unless you are scoring fractions of a second against 
time. Another way is to curve the cross-cleats slightly (Fig. 
226), leaving the long strips flat. 

Some toboggans are made with low runners about an inch high. 
You can, as you may know, patch up a sort of toboggan of 

barrel-staves, with which, though not 
a very workmanlike arrangement, 
you can have a lot of fun at no ex- 
pense. You can get a high speed 
FIG. 227. with this simple contrivance (Fig. 

227) on a steep hill. It is not good, however, unless the pitch is 
steep. You can even get a good deal of sport from this appa- 
ratus in the summer on a very steep grassy knoll. 

Wooden Guns and Pistols. A gun on the principle of 

FIG. 228. 

that shown in Fig. 228, the projectile power being furnished 
by elastic (rubber) cord, is easily made. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Spokeshave, Knife, in Part V., and look up any other refer- 

First saw the outline of the gun from a straight-grained 
pine or whitewood board. This can be quickly and cheaply 
done at any wood-working mill. The gun can then be finally 
shaped with the spokeshave and knife. The rasp and file can be 
used (see Rasp and File). Much of the shaping can be done 
with the drawknife (see Drawknife], and, in fact, the whole can 
be whittled out with a knife if other tools are wanting. 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 153 

The most difficult parts of the work are the groove for the 
arrow and the arrangement of the trigger. Much care is needed 
to cut an accurate groove with a gouge (see Gouge), and, unless 
you are skilled, you can get a truer result by having this done 
by a carpenter or at a mill. A mortise (see Mortising) must 

be cut for the trigger long 
enough to allow it suffi- 
cient play (Fig. 229). The 
arrangement of the trigger 
is shown in Fig. 229. The 

FIG. 229. 

FIG. 230. 

elastic underneath the 
barrel (at the lower end of 
the trigger) must be sufficiently powerful (combined with its ad- 
ditional leverage) to balance the elastic which propels the arrow, 
so that the trigger will remain in position and hold the upper 
elastic drawn, until the pressure of the finger on the trigger 
releases it. 

The barrel of the gun is sometimes built of three pieces (Fig. 
230, showing section) of thinner stock, which obviates the groov- 
ing but makes more work otherwise. The groove can be left 
open on top (Fig. 230) or covered with a thin strip (Figs. 231 and 
232). In the latter case a depression must be made in the barrel, 
so that when the strip is put on there will be a long slot in which 
the string can play back and forth (Fig. 232). With this arrange- 

FIG. 231. 

FIG. 232. 

ment you can make a notch (Fig. 233) lo hold the cord when 
drawn. The trigger can be of wood or wire, pivoted on a screw 
or nail, so that when pulled the string will be pushed up and re- 
leased (Fig. 233). 

A tube is sometimes fastened to the barrel, as in a real gun, 

154 Wood-Working for Beginners 

and a plunger is sometimes fitted to the tube to start the arrows, 
or bullets in case they are used (Fig. 234). 

The ends of the elastic cord can be fastened to screw-eyes at 
the muzzle. A piece of leather thong 
or cord inserted at the middle of the 
upper elastic cord will wear better 

FIG. 235. 

FIG. 236. 

FIG. 234. 

than the rubber at that point. 

Another form of trigger is shown in Fig. 235, which can also 
be made of stiff wire (Fig. 236). 

To finish the gun nicely, it should be scraped (see Scraper] 
and sandpapered with fine sandpaper (see Sandpaper}. It can 

FIG. 237. 

then be finished with oil and shellac or varnish (see Shellac, 
Varnish, Finishing). 

These same methods of construction can, of course, be applied 
to a pistol. 

A bow-gun or crossbow (Fig. 237) can be made on the same 
principle, using a bow instead of the elastic, 
and inserting it in a hole made through an 
enlargement of the under side of the barrel 
FIG. 238= (Fig. 238). 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 155 

Sleds. Common sleds can be bought so cheaply that it 
is hardly worth while, as a rule, to make them. Many are 
so poorly made, however, and will stand so little rough 
usage, that a few suggestions may be of value if you should 
wish to make a really serviceable one yourself. 

Take the dimensions from any sled which suits you. 
Avoid making your sled too high, however, as one ten or 
twelve inches high will coast no better than a low sled, and 
requires much more bracing to be strong. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

The runners and cross-pieces should be of straight-grained oak, 

FIG. 239. 

maple, ash, or other strong wood; $" stock will do. Mark the 
runners carefully on the wood, according to your working-draw- 
ing (Fig. 239), and before sawing them out bore the holes for the 
rope (see Boring). Saw out the runners, or have them sawed 
by machine, and see that the curves are the same on each. 

Get out three cross-pieces (Fig. 240) about 2" 
wide, and from -|" to i|" thick, with a shoulder 
at each end as shown. Mark and cut the p IG> 240 

mortises (see Mortising) in the runners (Fig. 239). 

Put these parts together, forming the frame of the sled (Fig. 

156 Wood-Working for Beginners 

241), driving a pin through each mortise and tenon and adding 
the L irons shown in Figs. 241 and 242. 

The seat may be thinner than the runners, and is to be fitted 
between them and to be screwed to the cross-pieces (see Screws}. 
The thickness of the stock for the seat must be borne in mind 
when laying out the mortises in the runners. 

Machine-planed stock is, of course, as smooth as is necessary 
for a sled, but smoothing by hand (see Plane, Scraper, and 

FIG. 241. 

FIG. 242. 

Sandpaper) will give a nicer surface. The runners can be shod 
at the blacksmith's with half-round irons, or round steel can be 
used with iron at the ends. In case of steel spring irons the run- 
ners can be slightly grooved on the edge, so far as may be ne- 
cessary to keep the irons in place. The irons can be ^" to " in 

Finish with paint (see Painting} or with oil, shellac, and var- 
nish (see Finishing). 

A " double-runner," " bob," or " traverse " sled can be 
built to good advantage. The sleds can be made as just 
described, or ready-made ones can be used. See that they 
are well put together, of the same width, and securely 
braced, as the strain upon them is great. The length of 
the double-runner is a matter of choice, of course. As to 
the height and width, however, if the coasting is straight, 
smooth, and comparatively safe there is no objection to a 
high seat, with a comfortable foot-board on each side for the 

passengers' feet, If you wish. But if you are going to coast 
on long, rough hills, with sudden curves and pitches to be 
taken in uncertainty and at whirlwind speed the kind of 
coasting for real fun and exhilaration avoid the luxurious 
top-heavy double-runners frequently seen. Make the sleds 
rather broad (18" is not too wide for the " track " of a 16' 
sled; which is a very long sled, however), and keep the 
height of the top-board down to about 10" or less. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

The seat-board can be from 8' to 16' long, and about 12" to 

FIG. 243. 

14" wide. Board thickness is sufficient for a short seat, but if 
long a i" plank should be used. If you have in mind to make 
a very long sled you should consider, before beginning, that you 
must either use a quite thick plank to get the necessary stiffness, 
which will add to the weight of the double-runner, or the plank 
must be stiffened or " trussed " with rods beneath like a bridge, 
which will add to the expense and labour. It should be of 
strong, elastic, straight-grained wood, free from bad knots or 
defects, as the strain upon it is great. It should not be too 
yielding and springy, however, or it may sag inconveniently. 
Clear hard Southern pine or ash is good. A plank of stiff spruce 
of good quality will do. The rear end can be rounded, as shown 
(Fig. 243). 

158 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Machine-planing is sufficient for the sides of the seat-plank, 

but the edges should be planed carefully (see Plane), and the 

angles slightly rounded off with the plane, spokeshave, or rasp 

and file (see Spokeshave, Rasp, and File) to prevent splinters. 

To enable the front sled to turn properly, get out two pieces 

of 2" plank, as shown in Fig. 244, 
about 3" wide and as long as the 
width of the sled, one being tapered 
toward the ends on the under side. 
The tapering is important, as it di- 
minishes the friction when the front 
sled is turned. Screw one of these 
pieces firmly across the top of the 
front sled and the other across the lower side of the seat-board 
(see Screws), a hole being bored through the centre of each 
cross-piece (as well as through the seat-board and the top of the 
front sled) for the king-bolt upon which the front sled turns. 
Find these centres accurately and bore carefully with a bit -fa" 
larger than the king-bolt (see Boring). The front sled should 

turn very freely 
and easily, and 
have plenty of 

FIG. 244. 

FIG. 245. 

but the 

bolt should not fit loosely enough to make 
the double-runner rickety. 

A washer can be inserted between the 
cross-pieces. Sometimes a thick rubber 
washer is used to lessen the shock (Fig. 


To give the ends of the rear sled free- 
dom to play up and down (without turning 
sideways) in passing over the in- 
equities of the surface the arrangement 
shown in Fig. 243 (and enlarged in Fig. 
246) is good. Do not make this of \" 


FIG. 246. 
Pieces of plank 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 159 

should be used, the dimensions being so arranged that the seat- 
board will be equally raised from the front and rear sleds. The 
pins at the ends of the cross-piece should be not less than i" in 
diameter (i" is better) and should be carefully cut (see Paring 
and Rounding Sticks}. The best way is to have them turned to 
fit the holes in the rocker-shaped pieces. The latter should be 
long enough (about i ') to prevent danger of the wood breaking apart 
near the hole and to allow for screwing firmly to the seat-board. 
Another way, sometimes adopted, is to use two cross-cleats 

with two bolts (queen-bolts) mum.".. 

and thick rubber washers (Fig. 
247), the bolts being loose 
enough in the holes to allow 
the necessary amount of play. 
Ropes or chain can be fastened 
from the rear sled to the seat- 
board, to prevent too much 

T 1 

dropping of the former. 

FIG. 247. 

Many arrangements for steering have been invented. A cleat 
at the forward end of the seat-board to brace the feet against, 
the sled being guided by the ropes held in the hand (Fig. 248), 
is a simple way, though requiring more strength and steadiness 
of arm, when the coast is rough or dangerous, than is possessed 
by many steersmen. The brace for the feet should be bolted to 
the seat-board or strongly screwed from 
above and beneath. Another equally 
simple way is to screw the brace for the 
feet upon the forward sled (Fig. 243), 
cutting a shallow gain in the tops of the 
FIG. 248. runners to hold it more securely. In this 

way of steering the arms can reinforce the legs, or the steering can 
be done by the legs alone. It is a very effective method, which gives 
a high degree of control of the forward sled without cumbersome 
tackle and leaves the seat-board free of obstructions. 1 

1 Various contrivances for steering with a wheel or cross-bar are sometimes 

160 Wood- Working for Beginners 

FIG. 253. 

In case of a high double-runner, running foot-boards along 
each side can be added. A simple way to fasten these is by means 
/. . . .g of pieces of strap-iron bent as shown in 
r Iff [y~7? Fig. 252 and screwed to the under side 

FK;. 252. of the seat-board, with the foot-boards 

fastened to the projecting arms (Fig. 253). 
The dimensions to which the irons should be 
bent depend upon the height and size of the 
double-runner, but you should take pains that 
the space between the edge of the seat-board 
and the foot-board is such that the feet can- 
not become caught. 

The problem of contriving a perfectly successful brake for a 
double-runner has not yet been solved. Like all other apparatus 
for emergencies it should be as simple as possible. Unless it is 
sure to work it will be worse than not to have one, as you will 
come to rely on it. The steersman is usually the one who first 
realises the need of braking, and when practicable he is the one 
upon whom it naturally devolves. If he steers with the hands he 
can brake with the foot against a lever as shown below, but if he 
steers with the feet it is pretty risky business trying to brake also 
with the foot and, unless you can contrive some way by which 

used. These work well if properly attached, and for reasonably safe coasting 
can be recommended, but where a "spill" is 
likely to occur, it may be well to consider the 
chance of being injured by these obstructions 
in front of the steersman. 

Fig. 249 shows the king-post squared at the 
lower end (and tapering) to be fitted to a taper- 
ing mortise in the cross-cleat of the for- 
ward sled and held down by the screw and nut 
at the extreme end. A wheel is attached to 
the upper end. Any blacksmith can make an ar- 
rangement like this, or the bottom of the king- 
post can be split (Fig. 250) and screwed to the FlG. 249. FIG. 251. 
front sled, and the top can be made with a bar instead of a wheel (Fig. 251). 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 161 

he can safely and quickly brake by hand (not an easy thing to 
do), the brake had best be worked by the rider at the rear. This 
has some obvious disadvantages. A few ideas are given below, 
but are not recommended as thoroughly satisfactory. 

The simple and primitive way, so often used in the country by 

FIG. 254. 

drivers of heavily loaded sleds, of dropping a chain under the 
runner is an effective method of braking, provided you have some 
sure method of dropping the chain under the runners. Fig. 254 
shows a method which can be worked from either the forward or 
rear end of the double-runner. In the plan, or top view (Fig. 
254), the details of the arrangement (being beneath the seat) 
would ordinarily be represented by dotted lines, but in this case, 
on account of the small size of the drawing, they are shown by 
full lines, as they would look if the seat-board were transparent. 
A way of holding up the middle of the chain is shown in Fig. 
255. A small block a, perhaps 
3" long, is screwed to the under 
side of the seat and the chain is 
held against it by the pivoted bar 

FIG. 255. 

b (which is pivoted to the seat- 
board by a bolt and is kept in 
position by the spring), and on the 
under side of which a piece of metal is screwed at one end, 
which prevents the chain from dropping. The end of the bar b 

1 62 Wood- Working for Beginners 

is connected by a wire with the lever in front. When the lever is 
pushed by the steersman's foot the bar b is pulled away from 
the block a and the chain falls by its own weight under the 
runners of the rear sled, which quickly brings the double- 
runner to a standstill. Fig. 256 shows the bar held in position 

FIG. 256. 

FIG. 257. 

FIG. 258. 

by the spring. Fig. 257 shows the position of the bar after 
the lever has been pressed, with the open space which allows the 
chain to drop. The same apparatus can be worked from the 
rear end of the double-runner by simply having the wire to be 
pulled led back (Fig. 258), where it can be worked directly 
by the hand or you can contrive a lever to be raised. 

A method of braking sometimes used is by means of a crooked 
lever formed from an iron rod, one end of which is pulled up by 
the hand while the lower part has one or more prongs which dig 
into the surface and stop the sled. Fig. 259 shows a form some- 
times used, and Fig. 260 a top view showing position of the 
handle and prongs when not in use. Any blacksmith can arrange 

this apparatus, which 
is attached to the rear 
sled. A similar ar- 
rangement can be 
contrived to work by 
the steersman's foot 
FIG ' 2 59- FIG. 260. if desired. One 

prong, attached to the under side of the seat-board, can be ar- 
ranged as suggested (side view) in Fig. 26oa. 

The double-runner should be thoroughly oiled, and a coat of 
shellac, followed after a day or two by a coat of varnish, will add 


much to its durability as well as to its appearance. Lubricate 
the working parts with soap or tallow. 

If you have a gong, it should be worked by someone other 
than the steersman. 

The rear sled is i \ 

sometimes arranged to \ ^.'-''' / 

swivel like the front 
sled and to be steered 

by a second steersman, 

J FIG. 26oa. 

somewhat after the 

fashion of a long hook-and-ladder truck. This gives good com- 
mand of the double-runner on curves. 

Gymnastic Apparatus. It will, in most cases, be out of 
the question for you to attempt to put up any building 
roomy enough for a " gym," but sometimes a number of 
you can club together and get the use of some vacant room 
in which satisfactory apparatus can be fitted at moderate 
expense. Some of it may be rather primitive compared 
with the mechanism of a modern college gymnasium, but 
will answer the purpose so far as getting up muscle is con- 
cerned. Most of you can find a place for one or more pieces 
of apparatus, either indoors or out. Much outdoor apparatus 
can be supported on posts driven into the ground, or even 
by fastening to trees. The outdoor apparatus is usually 
easier and cheaper to make, but has the obvious disadvant- 
ages of not being usable in bad weather or winter, to any 
great extent, and will not last so long on account of ex- 
posure to the weather. If, however, you fix things the 
right way and take the movable parts indoors during the 
bad weather, such a " gym " will last until it is outgrown, 
or until the next generation grows up to build a new one. 
If indoors have the room well ventilated. Often the second 
story of a barn makes a capital gymnasium. The few simple 

164 Wood-Working for Beginners 

pieces of apparatus given here will be treated independently, 
as it is of course impossible to tell how you will be obliged 
to arrange them. You can vary the designs or proportions 
to suit the circumstances. 

White ash, hickory, oak, hard pine, and for some purposes 
fir, spruce, and white pine, are suitable for gymnastic ap- 
paratus. For everything which is to stand violent strain 
or wrenching, as the horizontal bars, vaulting poles, and 
such things, use air-dried stock, if possible, avoiding kiln- 
dried, as the latter is more brittle and inelastic, and often 
utterly unfit for such uses (see Chapter III.). Of course for 
such parts only the toughest woods should be used, as 
white ash, hickory, oak, spruce. 

Parallel Bars. A useful form (and not beyond the skill 
of an amateur) is shown in Fig. 261. The height must, of 

FIG. 261. 

course, depend upon the gymnast, and can range from 3' 6" 
to 5' 6", the width inside (between the bars) from 14" to 
19", and the length from 6' to 8'. 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 165 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

The base of the apparatus can be simply made of 2" x 6" 
planks, as shown in Fig. 261, and fastened by screws (see 
Screws), or, as shown in Fig. 262, the pieces 
can be halved at their intersections (see 
Halving], in which case thicker stock may be 
used. For a small pair of bars the planks for 
the base can be somewhat lighter. 

The upright posts should be of strong wood 
not less than 2" x 4" (unless for a very small 
pair of bars) and should be mortised at top 
and bottom, as shown in Figs. 263 and 264 (see Mortising). 
These joints should be pinned. 

The bars themselves should be of the best white ash (hickory, 
oak, hard pine can be used), not less than 2" x 3" (unless for a 

small pair of bars). The ar- 
rangement and object of the 
iron braces is plain. 

After the apparatus is all 
fitted together, take off the bars 

FIG. 262. 

FIG. 264. 

FIG. 263. 

and carefully round the top edges for the entire length (see 
Rounding Sticks). The ends which project beyond the posts can 

1 66 Wood- Working for Beginners 

also be rounded on the under side (/. <?., made elliptical in 
section, as shown), if desired. 

Machine-planing is sufficient for this apparatus, except for the 
bars themselves, which should be carefully smoothed by hand 
(see Plane, Scraper, Sandpaper], although, of course, the whole 
will appear more nicely finished if smoothed by hand. The 
square edges should be " broken " (i. e., slightly bevelled or 
rounded) so as not to be too sharp in case of contact with them. 

The whole apparatus can be simply oiled thoroughly, or can 
be given in addition one or more coats of shellac or varnish (see 
Finishing], but a coat of oil is sufficient for the bars themselves, 
as they will be polished by use. 

This arrangement has the advantage of being portable, but of 
course the base can be omitted, if desired, and the posts fastened 
directly to the floor. If mortises cannot be cut in the floor, 
blocks can be screwed to the floor around the base of each post 
so as to form a socket into which the post will fit. 

Parallel bars can be readily made for outdoor use by simply 
setting four upright posts (not less than 3" x 4") firmly in the 
ground, at the same distances apart as specified for the movable 
bars described above, and fastening the bars to the tops of the 
posts by mortise and tenon, as already shown (Fig. 263). The 
posts should reach 3' or more below ground, both on account of 
the frost and to give increased steadiness, and the earth should 
be thoroughly tamped down around them with a sharp-pointed 
bar or stick. This apparatus should be thoroughly oiled and 
can be varnished (see Finishing]. The posts should be of good 
thickness at the ground, but can be tapered toward the top, on 
the outside, to the thickness of the bars. 

Horizontal Bar. A design suitable for the amateur 
wood-worker is shown in Fig. 265. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 167 

First make the upright posts or guides. These are somewhat 
like a trough in shape, side boards about o" wide being screwed 
(see Screws] on the sides of a 2" x 3" joist. Fig. 266 shows sec- 
tions in the middle and at each end, blocks being inserted at the 
ends for strength. The joist can be of any strong wood. The 

side boards, which serve as guides for 
the bar, had best be of hard wood. 
Hard pine, oak, maple, ash, or any 
strong wood can be used. You will 
require two of the joists and four 
side boards, all sawed squarely off 
the exact height of the room. 1 

The usual way would be to get out 
the pieces a little too long and, after 
they are fast- 
ened together, 
to saw off the 
FIG. 265. ends so as to FIG. 266. 

give the required length. Gauge lines on each side of the up- 
right pieces (see Gauge) and intersect these lines at regular dis- 
tances by others squared across and around three sides of the 
uprights, thus determining the places for the holes for the pins 
which hold the bar in position. These can be bored from each 
side with a f" bit (see Boring). 

Another way sometimes adopted when you have one or two 
stout timbers on hand or already in position for the 
posts is to screw two upright cleats of plank to the 
inner side of each timber, thus forming the groove 
for the bar, as shown in section in Fig. 267. F 6 

1 You can get this height by taking two sticks whose combined length is 
somewhat greater than the height of the room. By letting the ends lap over 
one another in the middle, the sticks can be slipped along on each other until 
they just reach from floor to ceiling. Hold them tightly together (or fasten 
them with a clamp) when in this position and you will have the exact length 

1 68 Wood-Working for Beginners 

The uprights can now be fastened in place, taking care to have 
them exactly vertical and in line with each other. The distance 
apart will depend on the length of the bar. The uprights can of 
course be mortised into the floor, or the woodwork above, if the 
conditions admit, but it will usually answer every purpose to hold 
each end in place by four cleats firmly screwed' to the floor or 
ceiling. It is usually simpler to have these uprights extend to 
the ceiling, but this is not necessary, and in some cases it may 
be advisable to brace them to the floor only, by wooden or iron 
braces, in some of the ways already shown, or they can be guyed 
with wire rope and turnbuckles. 

The bar you had best have made or buy already made, in 
which case you can arrange the dimen- 
sions and position of the uprights to fit 
the bar. It can be from 5' in length to 
perhaps 6' 9" (6' is a good length), and 
should be not less than if" in diameter, 
nor over 2". It 
should be of the 
best clear, straight- 
grained white ash or 
hickory (air-dried, 

not kiln-dried). 

_ , . , FIG. 269. 

One having a steel 

rod for a core is the best. The ends can be left square and 
bound with a square ferrule or band of iron of the right size to 
slip easily up and down in the grooves of the upright guides (Fig. 
268). Any blacksmith can arrange this, as well as the pins to 
hold the bar. This apparatus can be finished in the same way 
as the parallel bars just described. 

A suggestion for a post for outdoor apparatus is given in Fig. 
269. The post should be set in the ground at least 3' and the 
earth well tamped down around it with a pointed bar or stick. 
The lower ends of the braces can themselves be set in the ground 
pr abut against heavier posts set in the ground. This apparatus 

FIG. 268. 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 169 

should be protected from the weather as in the cases described 

Vaulting Apparatus. You can buy iron standards or 
bases, and of course the whole apparatus, for high jumping 
and pole vaulting, but it is a simple matter . 

to make a pair of uprights that will answer 
the purpose satisfactorily (Fig. 270). 

Before beginning work read carefully Mark- 
ing, Rule, Square, Saw, Plane, in Part V., and 
look up any other references. 

Take two straight sticks 10' or 12' long and 
about 2^" square. Taper each piece with the 
plane until, about i|" square at one end. Make 
each base of two pieces of board about 4" wide 
and perhaps 3' long, as shown in Fig. 270, or 
halve two pieces of plank (see Halving]. Mor- 
tise the larger ends of the posts into these bases 
as shown in Fig. 271 (see Mortising}. 

Before fastening the posts to the standards, 
mark a line along the middle of one side of each 
post. On this line lay off feet and inches from 
the bottom and carefully bore a quarter-inch 
hole through the posts at each of these points 
(except, of course, those near the ground) for 
the pins which are to support the cross-bar or 
cord (see 'Boring). Then fit the posts in the 
mortises and brace them by three braces each. 
The ends of the braces can be cut at a mitre and screwed in 
place, or the blacksmith will make iron braces for a small sum 
(Fig. 271). Finish like the other apparatus already described. 

Vaulting poles should be round, very straight-grained, from 
air-dried (not kiln-dried) stock of light, strong wood, as spruce, 
free from knots or any cross-grained, weak spots. The thick- 
ness should of course depend on the length, but should not be 

FIG. 270. 

FIG. 271. 

1 70 Wood- Working for Beginners 

less than i" for an 8' pole (which is quite short), and the pole 
should taper toward each end (see Rounding Sticks). 

Spring-Board. A form not difficult to make is shown in 
Fig. 272. The framework can be made of any strong wood, 
but the spring-board itself should be of the best quality of 
clear, straight-grained white ash. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

First make the base or framework. Get out two pieces of 

2" x 3" plank for the 
outside pieces (to stand 
on edge) and screw 
blocks of the same 
plank at each end to 
raise the pieces from 
the ground as shown. 
Place these pieces so 
that they spread apart 

slightly at the forward 
end (Fig. 272), being 
about 22" apart at the rear end. Fit a cross-tie to connect these 
stringers at about 2' from the forward end. 

Another cross-bar, resting on the stringers, is placed nearer the 
rear end, and about i' from the rear end a piece of 3" x 4" joist 
is fitted between the stringers and held in place by a bolt passed 
through it and the stringers. This should be loose enough to 
allow the block to turn. 

The spring-board can be made of five strips of $" stock, 4" wide 
and 6' long, screwed to a cleat at the forward end, and securely 
bolted to the block at the rear end. 

This apparatus can be finished as in the cases described above. 

FIG. 272. 

Vaulting-Horse, A simple affair (Fig. 273) can be easily 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 171 

arranged by making a box, perhaps 5' long and 8" or 10" 
square, which can be supported by flaring legs of joist as 

shown in the illustrations. 

First make the box (see Box- 
making, in Part II.). The 
corners and edges should be 
rounded (Fig. 274), and the 
whole padded and covered with 
such materials as you may have 
at hand or can afford for the 
purpose. Laying out and saw- 
ing the bevels for the tops of the 
legs is the hardest part of the 
job. Transfer the bevels care- 

FIG. 273. 

fully from your 
working draw- 
ing tothewood, 
and saw as ex- 
as you can. See 
also Scribing. 
Unless you 

have had much experience some 
paring will probably be required 
to make all the legs fit. To 
make the horse stand evenly see 
Scribing, Winding- sticks, etc. The 
other general directions given for 
the apparatus described above will 
suffice for this horse. 

A horse for outdoors 
(Fig. 275) can be simply 
made of a log, perhaps i' 
in diameter, smoothed 

FIG. 275. 

172 Wood-Working for Beginners 

and with the ends rounded, and mounted (by mortising) upon 
posts set in the ground (see Mortising). The top can be covered 
with rubber, as indicated in the illustration. 

The posts should be set at least 3' in the ground, and the earth 
well tamped around them with a pointed bar or stick. 

The apparatus can be finished as in the cases given above. 

Giant Swing. This piece of apparatus is excellent for 
outdoors, and affords considerable sport 
(Fig. 276). 

You must have a pole or mast from 15' to 25' 
long and from 6" to ro" in diameter at the lower 
end. At the smaller end there should be an iron 
ring or ferrule. This can be heated and driven 
on, when it will shrink so as to fit tightly and 
save the end from splitting. The upper end of 
the pole should first be squarely sawed off 
(see Saw). The swing ropes, of which you 
can have two or four (as you wish), can be 
fastened by hooks to a pivot set into the top of 
the post (see Boring), the latter being firmly set 
up in the ground. The black- 
smith can quickly fix a pivot with 
hooks or pins and with a washer, 
to which you can fasten the ropes 
(Fig. 277). The lower ends of 
the ropes can be fastened at the 
proper height to sticks for handles. 
Loops can also be made in which 
to rest one leg if you wish. Of 

A Q_ 

FIG. 277. 

FIG. 278. 

course you must have plenty of room for swinging around. In 
setting up the pole dig a hole 3' or 4' deep and after placing the 
pole tamp the earth compactly down around it with a pointed 
bar or stick. 

A cheaper way, but hardly as good, is to drive a i" or f" rod 

Implements for Outdoor Sports 173 

in the top of the pole, and get out a stout piece of hard wood, 3" 
or 4" square and i' or 2' long, with a hole in the middle to fit 
the rod, and smaller holes near each end for fastening the ropes 
by a knot (Fig. 278). A washer can be put under the wooden 
bar, or the top of the pole may be slightly rounded. 

Other Apparatus. There are, of course, other useful 
forms of apparatus involving more or less woodwork, such 
as hanging poles, fixed upright and slanting poles or bars, 
and various contrivances which you can readily arrange 
without more special instruction than has been given. 

Ladders are of course good, but it is usually as well for the 
amateur to buy these. A suggestion for a framework for hang- 

FIG. 279. 

ing rings, trapeze, poles, rope ladders, and the like, with fixed 
ladders and horizontal bar, is given in Fig. 279. 

174 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Do not make such framework too light. Fasten the joints with 
bolts rather than screws or nails, and suspend the hanging 
apparatus from eye-bolts passing through the timber and with 
washers under the nuts. The dimensions for such framework 
must depend upon the circumstances. The suggestions about 
the construction of the other pieces of apparatus given above will 
assist you in designing and constructing something to suit the 



SOME article of furniture is frequently one of the first 
objects upon which the beginner (particularly the ama- 
teur of mature years) tries his hand; and boys, as well as 
their elders, sometimes confidently undertake pieces of 
cabinet-work which would tax to the utmost the skill of an 
experienced cabinet-maker, only to be discouraged by the 
unsatisfactory result. 

Do not be beguiled by the captivating sketches and de- 
scriptions in the popular magazines and papers which tell 
you how someone, at an expense of perhaps only $2.98, 
easily made a roomful of desirable furniture out of packing- 
cases, old bedsteads, barrels, soap-boxes, broomsticks, and 
the like, with only the household hammer, saw, and screw- 
driver, and a liberal supply of putty, coloured varnish, and 
the occasional help of the " village carpenter." 

That sort of work does very well for your feminine relat- 
ives if they wish to amuse themselves in such ways or to 
contrive makeshifts to save the expense of furniture made 
in the usual way. You can very well help them in such 
work, or do it for them, and some very neat, cheap, and 
serviceable things can be made of such materials (particu- 
larly with the use of cloth) but that is not the way ior you 
to begin your cabinet-making. Learn to do good, plain, 
simple, useful work in the simplest, most straightforward, 
practical, workmanlike way. When you can do that, if you 


176 Wood-Working for Beginners 

wish to exercise your ingenuity in patching up useful articles 
from discarded ones you will know how to do it properly. 

Be sure to begin with simple articles, avoiding attempts 
at elaborate decoration. Do not spend your time in mak- 
ing a useless object merely because you think it is pretty. 
Think first whether your design is suited for the purpose 
intended. If you start to make a case for your books, 
select or make your design accordingly, and do not be mis- 
led, by the multitude of overelaborated articles with which 
the market is flooded, into making a parlour bric-a-brac 
cabinet, all built up of turning, and jig-sawing, and machine- 
made carvings, too complicated and fragile for practical 
use, with the result that the books continue to be stored 
on a closet shelf or on the floor. 

Next look to the block-form or general proportions of the 
object. The importance of this is often wholly overlooked 
by the average amateur, sometimes because he is too en- 
grossed in trying to make the details pretty, but it is 
essential in making a handsome piece of furniture. No 
amount of exquisite carving, inlaying, or decoration of any 
kind (however beautiful in itself) will make an ill-shaped, 
badly proportioned article a thing of beauty; while a well- 
shaped and well-proportioned object will be pleasing to the 
eye even if free from decoration of any kind. 

Of course, no rule can be given for designing a handsome 
piece of furniture any more than for painting a beautiful 
picture, but when you have sketched out the general shape 
and proportions and think you have done as well as you 
can, there is one thing it is well to bear in mind that the 
average amateur is much more likely to spoil the appearance 
of his work by adding too much so-called ornamentation 
than by leaving the work too plain. When you become 
proficient enough to add carving, or other form of decoration, 

Furniture 177 

to your work, by all means use any skill you may have 
in such ways, but even then remember not to use such 
ornamentation too freely. Avoid " gingerbread " work, 
meaningless jig-sawed decorations, and machine-made carv- 
ings, turned out by the gross. 

Look at some of your great-grandmother's furniture (if 
you are fortunate enough to be able to do so) and think 
how long it has lasted, and compare it with the cheap 
modern furniture after the latter has been in use for a few 
years. How much of the latter would be in existence now 
if it had been made when the ancestral articles were ? The 
durability of the old things is partly due to the quality of 
the wood and its seasoning. The use of whole pieces (in- 
stead of scraps of all kinds of stuff glued up with cheap 
glue), the way the articles were put together, and the gen- 
erally honest work put into them had much to do with it. 

Bear in mind in undertaking a piece of cabinet-work that 
you must hold yourself to a higher standard in the matter 
of accuracy of detail, in order to produce a really satisfactory 
result, than is necessary for much of the other work often 
done by amateurs. Many slight inaccuracies, which are of 
little consequence in the rougher kinds of work, become 
such gaping and conspicuous defects in cabinet-work as to 
detract much from the satisfaction that should be taken in 
home-made articles. Remember, then, that while it is easy 
to make your furniture strong, it is by no means easy to 
produce close, accurate joints, smooth, true surfaces, square, 
clean-cut edges, and a good, smooth finish. Choose, there- 
fore, simple forms, easily put together, for your early 
attempts; for it is much better to make a modest and un- 
pretentious article well than to make an elaborate one badly. 

First and foremost, when you come to the actual work, 
use thoroughly seasoned wood. This is essential to making 

178 Wood-Working for Beginners 

permanently satisfactory furniture, as you will learn after 
you have spent much time in making an article out of half- 
seasoned stock, only to see the ruin of your carefully exe- 
cuted work begin as soon as the finish is dry, or even before. 

Although it is very easy to tell you to use nothing but 
properly seasoned stock, you will doubtless sometimes be 
deceived, however, as it is by no means an easy matter for 
the beginner to determine; but you can at least try your 
best to get wood in suitable condition, for it will be time 
well spent. (Read the remarks on seasoning in Chapter III.) 

Be content with the more easily worked woods in your 
early attempts. Do not buy highly figured, heavy, and 
hard San Domingo mahogany (no matter how beautiful) for 
your first table or bookcase nor even quartered oak, nor 
mottled walnut burl, nor wavy maple but begin with plain, 
straight-grained material, easy to work. 

White pine is often considered rather cheap and common 
in appearance, but it is suitable for many things in the way 
of furniture. It is one of the best woods to " stand," or 
hold its shape, and if not desired of the natural colour 
(which, is, however, suitable and attractive for some objects) 
it can be painted. It can also be stained, but is not to be 
compared with whitewood in this respect. 

Whitewood is, like pine, easy to work, durable, can be 
obtained in wide boards, can be painted, and takes a stain 
exceedingly well. 

Black walnut is good to work and is well suited for furni- 
ture, though its sombre hue is not always desirable. 

Cherry, when soft and straight-grained, is easy to work 
and is often (when highly figured or wavy) one of the most 
beautiful woods. It is easy to finish. 

Mahogany is a wood of great beauty and durability, and 
holds its shape exceedingly well, but the beginner should 

Furniture 179 

confine himself at first to the lighter, softer, straight-grained 
varieties, which can be easily obtained. You can then try 
the more highly figured and harder kinds, which will tax 
your skill in smoothing them. 

Oak in its softer, straight-grained forms is well suited to 
the work of the beginner. It is durable, and an article 
made of oak will stand more abuse without serious deface- 
ment than most of the other woods used for furniture. 
When quarter-sawed it is more difficult to smooth than 
plain, straight-grained oak, but as you acquire skill you 
will find quartered oak one of the most satisfactory woods. 
Oak can be stained if desired. 

Many other kinds of wood are sometimes used, as syca- 
more, ash, birch, beech, maple, rosewood, butternut, ebony, 
etc., but these woods you can try for yourself, if you wish, 
as you progress in skill, and thus learn their peculiar char- 

An important point, not always realised by the amateur, 
is that the stock for good furniture should be planed true, 
that is, free from winding. Buy stock that is as true as you 
can find (see Chapter III.) and have it planed to be as true 
as possible. Have as much of this truing done by machine 
as you can afford, for it is not worth while to spend an hour 
in working down a surface by hand (see Truing Surfaces, in 
Part V.) when a machine will do it in five minutes. There 
are, of course, cases in which this accuracy is not essential, 
and judgment must be used, as in all intelligent work, but, 
as a rule, it is highly important that the surfaces should be 
reasonably true if you wish to do your work as it should be 
done. The pieces, when fitted, should come together easily 
and naturally, and not require to be sprung or twisted or 
bent in order to be able to put the article together. 

Your furniture should always be hand-planed and scraped, 

i8o Wood- Working for Beginners 

for, though the slight hollows and ridges left by the planing- 
machine may not be noticeable while the wood is in its 
natural state, as soon as the surface is finished and begins 
to have a lustre these inequalities become conspicuous. 
This applies to any small irregularities of the surface. You 
cannot get the surface too smooth. You will be surprised 
at first to see how noticeable slight defects in the surface 
become in the finished work. 

Curved edges occur often in furniture. Many of these 
curves can be cut with a turning-saw or a keyhole- and com- 
pass-saw, but the easiest way (and the most accurate, until 
you have acquired considerable skill with the saw) is to have 
them cut at a mill by a jig-saw or band-saw at but slight 
expense. Have a piece of waste wood put on the under 
side to prevent the burr, or ragged edge, left by the 
sawing. These curves can be smoothed with the spoke- 
shave alone, or spokeshave and file, or file alone, according 
to the conditions, as you will soon learn by experience, the 
final finishing of the surface being given with fine sandpaper. 

Put the different parts of your article of furniture com- 
pletely together once (without glue or nails) to see that 
everything fits right, that the joints close properly, and that 
the whole job is as it should be, before putting together 

This often seems to the amateur a needless precaution 
(and it occasionally is), but, although it takes some time, it 
is the practice with skilled workmen and therefore a pre- 
caution which should not be neglected by the beginner. 
You will discover the importance of this when you carelessly 
assume that all the parts of a writing-desk, for instance, will 
come together properly, or that you can easily correct errors 
as you go along, only to find, when you have the work 
nearly put together that something is wrong. In the effort 

Furniture 181 

to mend the trouble you will be apt to loosen the parts 
already fastened, or will have to take the whole apart, which, 
when glue or nails are used, is particularly discouraging, 
and apt to damage the quality of the work. 

Be particular to clamp the parts of your work together 
thoroughly when using glue and to allow time enough be- 
fore removing the clamps (see Clamps and Gluing). 

Care should be taken in putting your work together to 
get it " square," that is, to prove the accuracy of the right 
angles. In some cases this is of course essential to having 
the work come together at all. In others, the appearance 
will be much injured if the article tips to one side or is 
slanting or twisted. In all cases it is essential to the proper 
closing up of the joints. It will not do to assume, as the 
beginner often naturally does, that because the parts of the 
work seem to be accurately made that the whole, when put 
together, will, therefore, be square. It must be tested. 
You will be surprised to see how much " out of square " 
and how winding the result of your most careful work will 
sometimes be if you do not test it as you put the parts to- 
gether. In addition to the obvious way of applying the 
square (see Square] to the angles, using the large steel square 
when you can: there are many cases in which measuring 
diagonals is a good test, altering the angles of the work 
until the two opposite diagonals are equal, when the vvoik 
will, of course, be rectangular. This is a good way for 
large " case " work, using a stick, or fitting two adjustable 
sticks, after the manner described on page 167, between the 
angles, when the latter can be altered until the diagonals are 

At the same time that you are testing for squareness you 
must also look out for winding, by sighting across the front 
or back, using winding-sticks, if necessary. 

1 82 Wood- Working for Beginners 

When your work has a back fitted in, as in the case of a 
bookcase or cabinet, this will help you much in the final 

Do not attempt to put your case work together in an up- 
right position, but upon horses horizontally, or flat upon its 
back or face. 

It is well to use corner-blocks in the angles of your furni- 
ture, in places where they will not show (see Corner-blocks, 
in Part V.)- 

After you begin to acquire some proficiency in your work, 
a little beading or chamfering can sometimes be used to good 
advantage, but it is well not to be too lavish with this kind 
of ornamentation. 

Wall-cabinets and other articles to be hung on the wall 
can be neatly attached to the wall by brass mirror-plates 
screwed upon the back. These should usually be sunk into 
the wood so that the back will be smooth. 

Your furniture can be finished with oil or wax alone, or 
with shellac or varnish, as described in Part V. In the case 
of articles to be hung against wall-paper or where any deli- 
cate fabric will be exposed, it is well to avoid finishing with 
oil alone unless the greatest care is used, for a very slight 
surplus of oil will quickly soil the paper. For the work of 
the amateur nothing is better than shellac. 

When your work is made of parts which can be readily 
separated, such parts as are joined without glue or nails, it 
is best to take the work apart before finishing. Unhinge 
doors and take off locks, escutcheons, mirror-plates, han- 
dles, and the like. Take out removable shelves, backs, and 
all detachable parts. Finish all these parts separately and 
then put the work together again. You can finish the sepa- 
rate parts better and more easily, but of course this can only 
be done with such parts as are readily separable. 

Furniture 183 

In some cases it is desirable to stain your furniture, but 
as a rule you cannot improve on the natural colouring, which 
deepens and mellows with age. If you wish mahogany- 
coloured furniture, use mahogany, or, if you cannot afford 
that, simply paint or stain some cheaper wood of the de- 
sired colour, but do not try to imitate the grain of the 
mahogany. There are two objections to these attempts at 
imitation. First, they are not honest ; and, in the second 
place, the deception is usually a failure. 

Finally, be simple and honest in all your designing, your 
construction (which above all things should be strong and 
durable), and your finishing. Do not put in your room an 
object which appears at a distance of ten feet to be a ma- 
hogany or black walnut centre-table, but which on closer 
examination turns out to be a pine washstand in disguise. 

There are, as you know, hundreds of articles of household 
utility, other than those here given, which are suitable for 
the amateur to make, but it is hoped that the suggestions 
about those which are included in this chapter will be of 
service in the construction of other objects. 

Book-Rack. A sim- 
ple rack for books (Fig. 
280) can be of any 
length desired, about 

six inches wide, and of 

I* . i i / FIG. 280. 

half -inch stock (or 

slightly thinner), but the dimensions can be varied accord- 
ing to circumstances. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

Be sure that the bottoms of the ends are accurately cut. The 
other edges can be rounded if you wish (see Sfokeshave and 

1 84 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Pile). The hinges should be sunk in the wood, so that they will 
not injure the books (see Hinges). 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Desk-Rack. An easily made arrangement to put on the 
back of a table or desk is shown in Fig. 281, and can be 

FIG. 281. 

made of stock of from %" to %" thickness, according to the 
size of the rack. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

First make the two boxes (see Box-making, page 219), and then 
the shelf above them. This can be fastened to the tops of the 
boxes by screws from underneath. The 
edge can be slightly rounded. The rail 
or guard at the back and ends of the 
shelf should be made independently. 
The back and ends can be joined as 

shown in Fig. 282, and the whole then fastened to the shelf by 
screws (see Boring and Screws) from underneath before fasten- 
ing the shelf to the boxes, or it can be dowelled on, as shown 
in Fig. 282a (see Dowelling). 

Partitions can be fitted in the boxes, forming pigeonholes or 
compartments, if desired. These partitions can be nailed in 

FIG. 282. 

FIG. 282a. 



place or, to be more workmanlike, can be fitted in grooves (see 
Grooving and Shelves). 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Hanging Book-Shelf. A wall-shelf (Fig. 283) is useful 
and good practice for the amateur. It should not be made 
too deep (from front to 
back). Half-inch stock 
is heavy enough, if the 
shelf is not more than 
two feet long. 

Before beginning work 

read carefully Marking, 

Rule, Square, Saw, Plane, 

in Part V., and look up any FIG. 283. 

other references. 

This shelf can be simply put together by nailing, setting the nails 

carefully (see Nailing and Nail-set}. Carefully mark lines (using 

the square) by which to nail the pieces in their proper places. It 

is not worth while to use glue if the 
parts are put together in this way. 
A stronger and more workmanlike 
way is to groove the lower shelf into 
the sides and the sides into the 
upper shelf (see Grooving). In this 
case glue should be used and the 
work tightly clamped (see Gluing and 
Clamps}. It will be much stronger 

to fit a back between the two shelves and the sides. This should 

properly be set in a rabbet cut around the space, as shown in Fig. 

284 (see Rabbet}. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 

FIG. 284. 

1 86 Wood-Working for Beginners 

See also Scraper, 

smoothing, putting together, and finishing. 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Wall-Cabinet. An open cabinet or hanging case for 
books, magazines, or other small articles (Fig. 285) can be 

of any desired proportions, but 
should not be very large. Half- 
inch stock is sufficiently thick. 

Before beginning work read 
carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look 
up any other references. 

This case should have a back. 
Rabbets should be cut to receive 
the back, as in the case of the 
wall-shelf just shown (see Rabbet), 
the top and middle shelves being 
narrower than the lower shelf by 
the thickness of the back. 

This case can simply be nailed 
together (see Nailing and Nail- 

FIG. 285. 

set), but it will be better to groove the shelves into the sides (see 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Hanging Bookcase. A simple and useful case for the 
wall (Fig. 286) can be made on much the same principle as 
the small case just shown. It is well not to make such cases 
very large, and, unless quite small, stock from f" to f" in 
thickness will be suitable. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 



Instead of a back, strips can be screwed on vertically (Fig. 
286), being sunk so as to be flush with the back of the case 
(Fig. 287). 

See end of introduction to 
this chapter for directions about 

FIG. 286. 

FIG. 287. 
See also Scraper, 

smoothing, putting together, and finishing 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Wall-Shelves. An easily made 
arrangement is suggested in Fig. 288. 
The design can easily be varied if 
you wish. 

Before beginning work read carefully 
Marking, Rule, Square, Saw, Plane, in 
Part V., and look up any other refer- 

The construction is extremely simple, 
the shelves being merely screwed on 
from the back. 

Get out the back and the shelves, and smooth them. Mark 
lines across the face of the former at the places for the shelves, 

FIG. 288. 

1 88 Wood- Working for Beginners 

bore holes through the back from the face for the screws (see 
Boring), and countersink the holes on the back (see Countersink). 
Screw the shelves in place (see Screws) to see that everything is 
right, then take apart and finish. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Pipe-Rack. A modification of the shelf arrangement 

just described makes a good 
rack for pipes and other articles 
for smoking (Fig. 289). 

Before beginning work read 
carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look 
up any other references. 

This differs from the article just 
described only in the shape of the 
shelves, which have openings in 

FIG. 209. 

FIG. 290. 

uic edge for holding pipes. These openings can be made either 
with a fine saw or by boring holes and cutting in to them from 
the edge (Fig. 290). 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Wall-Shelves. A quite simple form is shown in Fig. 
291, having a small box with lid. A combination of this 



form with the design for a pipe-rack can easily be made if 

Before beginning work read 
carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look 
up any other references. 

The construction is plain from 
the cases already described. The 
hinges should be sunk in the edge 
of the lid (see Hinges}. 

See end of introduction to 
this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and 
finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and finishing, in 
Part V. 

FIG. 291. 

Wall -Cabinet The cabi- 
net shown in Fig. 292 should be rather small, for if large it 

will look clumsy. It can be 
made of half-inch stock. 

Before beginning work read 
carefully Marking, Rule, 
Square, Saw, Plane, in Part 
V., and look up any other ref- 

The construction is quite 
similar to the preceding cases. 

If you have no board wide 
enough for the back, two can 

be joined (see pointing and 
FIG. 292. . . 


The cupboard is simply a box without front or back (see 

190 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Box-making, page 219) screwed to the back from behind (see Bor- 
ing and Screws). The shelves at the sides of the cupboard and the 
bracket underneath it can be screwed from the back and from 
the inside of the cabinet, as in the preceding cases. 

The door (see Doors) can be fitted and hung (see Hinges) after 
the whole has been put together. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Corner-Shelves or Cabinets. A simple form of hang- 
ing corner-shelves is shown in Fig. 293. This can be of any 
size, of course, but such articles look clumsy if made very 
large. Half-inch stock is heavy 
enough unless the case is quite 
large, when " or -|-" thickness can 
be used. 

Before beginning work read carefully 
Marking, Rule, Square, Saw, Plane, in 
Part V., and look up any other refer- 

FIG. 293. FIG. 294. 

One of the sides can be made wider than the other by the 
thickness of the stock, so as to lap over and secure a tight and 
strong joint at the back. The top board (with rounding front) 
can simply be nailed down on the sides (see Nailing and Nail-set), 



or, to be more workmanlike, a rabbet (Fig. 294) can be cut 
around the edge of the top on the under side into which to fit the 
sides, which can be screwed in place (see Rabbet, Boring, Counter- 
sink, and Screws]. This rabbet 
should not come quite to the front 
edge of the top. 

The shelves can be screwed in 
place from the back (see Screws), 
carefully marking lines with the 
square, for boring the holes, be- 
fore putting the case together, 
and countersinking the holes 
upon the back. 

This case (being fastened by 
screws) can be taken apart for 

See end of introduction to this 
chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and 
finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper , and Finishing, in 
Part V. 

A standing cabinet like Fig. 
295 can be made in the same 
manner as the hanging cabinet 
just shown, but can, of course, 
be larger. Stock from f " to 

FIG. 295. 
in thickness can be used. 

The rail at the top can be made and put on as directed for 
the desk-rack shown in Figs. 281 and 282. 

Medicine-Cabinet. Any small cabinet can be used for 
medicines by simply arranging the shelves in any convenient 
manner. A simple way is to have a series of horizontal 

192 Wood-Working for Beginners 

grooves on the inside of each side, into which the shelves 
can be slipped at any desired distance apart. A design 

for an easily constructed 
medicine-cabinet for the 
wall is shown in Figs. 296 
and 297. 

Before beginning work 
read carefully Marking, 
Rule, Square, Saw, Plane, 
in Part V., and look up any 
other references. 

A good size for a small 
cabinet is to have the main 
box-part, the cabinet proper, 
about 15" wide, 20" high, 
and 7" deep. It can be 
made of |" stock. The con- 
struction is like that of the other cases already shown. The 
joints should properly be grooved (see Grooving and Gluing}, 
but the whole case can be nailed together, although the result 
will be inferior (see Nailing and Nail-set}. The back should be 
set in a rabbet as in the cases already shown. The arrangement 
of the hinges J3 shown in the illustration (see Hinges}. 

The partitions can be of thin stock (" or -f$"}. The doors 
can have thick cleats, shaped as shown in Fig. 297 (enlarged in 
Fig. 297a), with holes bored down from the top for homoeopathic 
phials. Care must be taken not to bore the holes through (see 
Boring). Stop boring before the spur comes through and clean 
out the bottoms of the holes with a gouge. 

A small drawer can be fitted to one of the small compartments, 
as in Fig. 297 (see Drawers}. If the edges of the doors are made 
to lap slightly where they come together, rabbets being cut on 
opposite sides of the edges (Fig. 298), the joint will be tighter, 

FIG. 296. 


but a little space must be allowed or the doors may bind. The 
rest of the details are like those of the cases already described. 

FIG. 297. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part. V. 

FIG. 2973. 

FIG. 298. 

Bookcases. A plain case (Fig. 299) can be made of any 
desired size. If quite small " stock can be used, but ordi- 
narily |" thickness will be best. The method of construction 
is practically the same as in the cases already described. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

The shelves can all be fastened in, if desired, but a good way 


194 Wood- Working for Beginners 

is to groove the top and bottom shelves into the sides and make 
those between movable (see Shelves, in Part V.). 

The back can be fitted by simply cutting a rabbet on the 
back edge of each side for the entire length (see Rabbet), and 
making the shelves of such a width that they will not project be- 
yond the rabbet. A narrow piece can be screwed from the back 
lengthways, above the upper shelf, as shown in Fig. 300. The 

FIG. 299 

FIG. 300. 

rest of the back can then be screwed in place (see Boring and 
Screws). The back, being too wide to be made of one board, 
can very well (for a plain case of this sort) be of matched boards 
or sheathing. 1 Do not force the back too tightly into place, that 
is, crossways of the boards. Allow a little play for the expansion 
and contraction. 

1 This method of putting in a back answers very well for the beginner, and 
is often used in cheap work, but, unless quite small, the really workmanlike 
way is to make a panelled frame, which is screwed in place as one piece. The 
degree to which the panelling is carried depends upon the size and shape 
of the back. When you become able to make your work more neatly and 
accurately than can be expected of the beginner, you will do well to construct 
the backs in this way, but it involves much more labour and is hardly worth 
while for such simple work as you will do at first. 



FIG. 301. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

A " knock-down " method of putting together with tenons 
and wooden pins (Fig. 301) is not 
very difficult, but requires care and 
accuracy. In the case of the book- 
case just shown, the upper and lower 
shelves can be pinned through the 
sides, which will hold the case firmly, 
and the other shelves can be mov- 
able (see Shelves). A case fastened 
in this way can be readily taken 
apart. This method can be applied to other designs for 
bookcases and cabinets. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

The general principle is that of the mortise and tenon (see 
Mortising). If you cut the mortises for the pins before cutting 
the tenons on the ends of the shelves you will avoid the liability 
of splitting the tenons. The pins should taper and the angles of 
the pins and tenons be very slightly bevelled, that is, the sharp 
edge taken off. 

The ends of these shelves can be slightly "cut under" or 
bevelled inwards (see Fig. 302, which is exaggerated), on the 
same principle that the ends of floor boards and 
the like are sometimes slightly bevelled, to ensure 

FIG. 302. a closely fitting joint. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

A good form for an open bookcase suitable for the be- 

196 Wood- Working for Beginners 

ginner to make is shown in Fig. 303. This design is suit- 
able for a low, or dwarf, bookcase of whatever length may 
be desired. If of quite small size it can be made of |" stock 
throughout, but in most cases a thin plank (perhaps i" to 
i%" thick) had best be used for the ends. 
A curtain can be added if desired. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

The curves of the ends can be sawed by hand (see Turning- 
saw and Keyhole and Compass Saw}, 
or better by band-saw and jig-saw at 
a mill, and smoothed with spoke- 
shave and file (see Spokeshave and 
File). The shelves (at least the up- 
per and lower ones) should be 
grooved into the sides and glued 
(see Grooving and Gluing), although, 
as in the other cases already de- 
scribed, nails can be used, but the 
result will be inferior (see Nailing 
and Nail- set]. 

The plainness of the upright edges 
of the ends can be relieved by a little 
beading (Fig. 305), which you can 
do yourself or have moulded at the 
mill (see Beading). 

Little brackets, screwed under the lower shelf at each end, as 
shown in Fig. 306, add to the stiffness of the case. A back can 
be fitted into rabbets as described above, but in this case it 
had best not come above the top shelf, a rabbet being cut on 
the under edge of the latter as well as in the sides. The bottom 
shelf can simply be made narrower and without a rabbet. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 

FIG. 303. 



smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

The bookcase shown in Fig. 304 can be of any desired 
size and proportions. It can be of -J" stock, although the 
upright ends can well be of thin plank. 

FIG. 304. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

This case can simply be nailed together (see Nailing and 
Nail-set], but the more workmanlike way is to groove the sides 
into the top and the bottom shelf into the sides (see Grooving], 
The second shelf from the top can be grooved into the sides, 
and the upright partition forming the cupboard can also be 
grooved in place. This process involves careful laying out and 
accurate cutting. The other shelves can be removable. The 
base-board can be bevelled or curved on the top edge (or moulded 
by machine) and can be mitred at the corners. It can be fastened 
with fine nails (see Nailing and Nail-set). The front piece can 
be glued as well as the mitred joints. A moulding can be nailed 
around the top as shown, being mitred at the corners. 1 

1 A more workmanlike way is to work all such mouldings on the edge of the 

198 Wood- Working for Beginners 

The other details of construction do not differ from those of 
the cases just given, except in the matter of making and fitting 
the door, for which see Doors in Part V. 

A common way of making the sides of 
such cases is to make the side itself of 
board thickness, and to face the front edge 
with a strip (which can be glued on) from 
i%" to 2" wide, according to the size of the 
case, in the way shown in Fig. 305 (see 
Gluing). This gives a wider edge to the 
side and the shelves can fit behind the fac- 
ing strip. 

Beading can be worked on this strip, as 
shown (see Beading). 

See end of introduction to this chapter 
for directions about smoothing, putting 
together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

FIG. 305. 

Desk and Bookcase. Various combinations of book- 
shelves with a desk can be arranged. A useful form for a 
small one is shown in Fig. 306. The height is of course 
regulated by the necessary position of the desk-lid when 
dropped. The general principles of the construction are 
the same as those of the cases already shown. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

top, making it as much thicker as may be required, thus avoiding putting on 
the moulding across the grain of the piece to which it is fastened, which is not 
a scientific form of construction ; and for that matter it is a more thoroughly 
workmanlike way to work all mouldings on the solid wood. 

The top can be made of two thicknesses, the moulding being worked on the 
edge of the under piece before the two are glued together. Various forms of 
moulding can be worked on the edge by a moulding machine at almost any 
wood-working mill. 



The wing, or attachment at the side, can be grooved into the 
side of the main part. 

FIG. 306. 

The back should reach across from one part to the other, which 
will give stiffness to the whole. 

The desk-lid, which should be set in perhaps f " from the front 
edge of the case, can be prevented from dropping too far by 
chains fastened inside to the lid and the sides of the case. Vari- 
ous other arrangements can be bought for holding a desk-lid in 
the proper place. 

200 Wood- Working for Beginners 

The inside of the lid must of course be smooth. If panelled 
as in Fig. 306 the panel must be thick enough to be flush with 
the frame on the inside (see Doors). There will be more or less 
of a crack around this panel, but this is unavoidable. Lids of 
this sort are sometimes made with a smooth surface (without 
frame or panelling), but this requires some form of cleating to 
prevent warping (see Cleats). 

The small brackets under the lower shelf will help to stiffen 
the case. 

A few shelves can easily be arranged in the desk compartment. 
If you wish a number of pigeon-holes and compartments, a good 
way for the amateur to fit these is to make an independent case of 
pigeon-holes and compartments, without front or back, of thin 
wood (perhaps -"), and of such outside dimensions that it will 
just slip into the desk-space. This open box-like arrangement 
can be nailed together with fine brads. 

The best way to make it is by fitting all the divisions into 
grooves, but to do this by hand requires more work and care 
than can be expected of the ordinary amateur. The grooving 
can be done by machine. A convenient arrangement is to have 
rows of parallel grooves into which the division boards can at any 
time be slipped to form compartments of any desired size. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Music-Case. The construction of the form shown in 
Fig. 307 is like that of the examples already shown. The 
sides, top, and bottom should be of f " or %" stock, but the 
shelves can be thinner. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

This case can be simply nailed together (see Nailing and 


20 1 

Nail-set), but the more workmanlike way is to groove the bottom 
shelf into the sides and the sides into the top, as in the cases 
already shown (see Grooving). 

A moulding at the top can be 
made as in the bookcase shown in 
Fig. 304. 

For various ways of putting in 
the shelves, see Shelves, in Part V. 

The back can be thinner (") 
and should be fitted in a rabbet cut 
around, as already shown in the 

See end of introduction to this 
chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and 
finishing. See also Scraper, 
San dp a p e r, and Finishing, in 

Part V - FIG. 307. 

Plant-Stands. The form shown in Fig. 308 is of quite 
simple construction and is useful to hold a large flower-pot. 
It should be made of |-" stock. The 
top can be from 8" to 12" square. 

Before beginning work read carefully 
Marking, Rule, Square, Saw, Plane, in 
Part V., and look up any other refer- 

Simply make a box (see Box-making, 
page 219), without top and bottom, with 
the grain of the four sides running up 
and down. Before putting together saw 

the curves at the bottom. As the grain of the four pieces all runs 
up and down, these sides can be glued together without nailing 
(see Gluing). Screw four cleats around the inside of the top 

202 Wood-Working for Beginners 

(Fig. 309) with holes bored in them for screws with which to fas- 
ten on the top from underneath (see Boring and Screws). Round 

the top edge as shown (see Spoke- 
shave and File}, and smooth the sur- 
faces. Then, having shaped the 
edge of the top as shown in Fig. 308, 
fasten it in place and the stand is 
ready to finish. 

See end of introduction to this 
chapter for directions about smooth- 
ing, putting together, and finish- 
ing. See also Scraper, Sandpaper, 
and Finishing, in Part V. 

The form shown in Fig. 310 is made upon a similar prin- 
ciple, and can be of a larger size than would be satisfactory 
for the first pattern. 

Much care must be taken 
to so lay out and cut the 
slanting edges of the sides 
that the pieces will come 
together accurately. After 
the top has been fastened 
on, a little piece of mould- 
ing can be put around be- 
neath the edge of the top as 
shown, provided you have 
the skill to do it neatly. The 
corners must be mitred, and 
the moulding fastened on 
with fine brads, which must be set (see Nailing and Nail-set). 1 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

1 See footnote on page 198. 

FIG. 310. 



Tables. A plain table, which although not especially 
ornamental is serviceable for many purposes, is shown in 
Fig. 311. It can be made of any size and proportions and 
the details can easily be varied. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Ride, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

FIG. 311. 

The construction is too simple to require special description. 
The legs and the cleats at the top should be of plank thickness, 
the rest of $" stock. The legs can be halved where they cross 
(see Halving], or for a rough job can be simply nailed (see Nail- 
ing). The cleats at the top of the legs should be nailed or screwed 
to the legs, and will act as cleats to the top, which is fastened to 
them. The boards forming the top can be simply laid with the 
edges touching, for a rough job; but where a. good surface is re- 
quired the joints should be glued (see Jointing and Gluing] and 
the surface smoothed afterwards. 

Extra cleats can be put under the top if needed for stiffness, 
and additional lengthways stretchers can be added to connect the 
upper part of the legs. 

The whole should be planed and sandpapered and can be 
shellaced or painted. The remaining details do not differ from 
those of the subjects already shown. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V, 

204 Wood-Working for Beginners 

A table of simple construction and neat appearance (Fig. 
312) can be of any desired size and proportions. 

FIG. 312. 

Before beginning work 
read carefully Marking, 
Rule, Square, Saw, Plane, 
in Part V., and look up 
any other references. 

The legs can be from 
i" to 2^" square, ac- 
cording to the size of 
the table. After being 
squared and cut to a 
length they should be 
tapered toward the bot- 
tom by planing down two 
opposite sides and then 

the other two. The tapering, however, should not extend to the 

tops of the legs, but to a point a little below the bottom of the 

rails, or cross-bars, which connect the legs. On the two inner 

sides of the legs 

mortises must be 

cut to receive 

tenons on the 

ends of the rails 

which connect 

the legs, as shown 

in Fig. 313 (see 


These rails can 

be of |" stock, FIG. 313. 

the curves on the lower edge being cut with the turning-saw or 

compass and keyhole saw, and finished with spokeshave and 

chisel or file. The curves can be omitted, of course, if preferred. 
Do not try to put this table all together permanently at one 



operation. First put together two legs and the connecting piece, 
then the other two legs and the connecting piece, and finally 
join these two sides by the remaining rails. Glue the joints 
(see Gluing) and the parts should be securely clamped (see 
Clamps) until dry. Corner-blocks can be put in at the angles 
(see Corner-blocks). 

Holes must be bored in the rails by which to fasten the top. 
If the rails are not too deep, vertical holes 
can be bored, countersinking deeply if neces- 
sary. Deep countersinking can be done by 
first boring a hole large enough to admit the 
head of the screw to the depth required, when 
the hole can be continued with a smaller bit. 
If the depth of the rail is too great for this 
process, the hole can be made by a species of 
counterboring, making first a larger hole in 
the side of the rail (on the inside), an inch or 
so from the top, and boring down into this 
hole from the top. A slanting cut can be 
made from below with the gouge to allow the screw to be slipped 
into the hole (Fig. 314). Another way is to screw cleats on the 
inside of the rail with a vertical hole through which the 
top can be screwed on (Fig. 315). 

The top, if too wide for one board, should be glued 
up before being dressed off (see Jointing and Gluing), 
and the edge shaped and smoothed. Then, laying the 
top face downward on the horses or bench, place the 
frame upside dow.n upon the top. When in the exact 
position mark a line around the inside of the frame, 
continue the holes in the frame a little way into the top, 
using a bit a trifle smaller than the screws, and then screw 
the frame securely to the top (see Boring and Screws), measuring 
carefully to see that you use screws which will not protrude 
through the top of the table. Depend entirely on the screws to 
hold the top on. Do not fasten a table-top on with glue (see 

FIG. 314. 

FIG. 315. 

206 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Laying out the work, in Chapter IV.). If the table does not 
stand even, see Scribing and Winding-sticks. The final scraping 
(see Scraper] of the top can well be left until the table is put 
together, when the whole, after being scraped, can be carefully 
sandpapered with fine sandpaper (see Sandpaper]. 

The remaining details do not differ from those of the articles 
already shown. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Finishing, 
in Part V. 

An excellent centre-table for the amateur to make (Fig. 
316) is useful for many purposes. About three feet square 

on top is a convenient 

Before beginning work 
read carefully Marking, 
Rule, Square, Saw, Plane, 
in Part V. and look up 
any other references. 

Get out four legs, from 
i" to 2" in diameter, ac- 
cording to the size of 
the table. They can be 
tapered slightly, as in the 
preceding case. Groove one side of each leg to receive the end 
of the cross-partition shown in the cut (see Grooving]. These 
partitions can be " to f " thick. One of them can extend across 
(diagonally) from post to post. The other can be in two parts, 
reaching to the centre; or the partitions can be in four parts, 
meeting in the centre. This framework of legs and cross-par- 
titions can be bound together at the top by cleats screwed on top 
(Fig. 317), holes being made in the cleats by which they can in 
turn be screwed to the top of the table. The lower shelf, or 

FIG. 316. 



shelves (being made in four parts), can be fastened up from 
underneath, cleats, also, being used if necessary. The shelves 
can be of " stock. The upper shelves can be fitted after the 
rest is put together and can rest upon cleats underneath, to which 
they can be fastened. The shape 
of the top is shown in Fig. 31 ?a. 

FIG. 317. 


The remaining details do not differ from those in the preceding 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and finishing, in Part V. 

Small Stand. A simple ar- 
rangement shown in Fig. 318 
involves more difficulties than 
many of the other articles 
shown, but is not beyond the 
skill of the careful amateur. 
A good size is about 13" or 14" 
across the top and 17" or 18" 
high. Such a stand is useful 
to hold a flower-pot. p IG _ 3I g. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V. and look up any other references. 

208 Wood-Working for Beginners 

FIG. 319. 

The top can be of \" or f" stock and the legs of -J" stock, the 
lower part tapering in thickness to -|" at the bottom. The curves 
can all be sawed at a mill for a small sum, and 
smoothed with spokeshave and file (see Spoke- 
shave and File). The underside of the top can 
be bevelled at the edge (Fig. 319). This can 
be done with the spokeshave. The file can be used to good ad- 
vantage in the rounding of the extreme edge, finishing with sand- 
paper, but not until after the top surface has been finally smoothed 
(see Spokeshave, File, and Sandpaper). 

The curved frame under the top and connecting the legs is to 
be made in four pieces, the legs being fitted between them (Fig. 
320). These curved pieces should 
be got out a little too long and the 
ends carefully sawed to make a tight 
joint with the legs. Be sure that all 
these parts fit accurately before you 
finally put them together. Screw 
them together, toeing screws into 
the legs. Use glue at the joints of 
the curved frame and the legs, but 
do not glue the frame to the top. 

The remaining details do not differ from those in the preceding 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Small Table. Fig. 321 shows a good form for a small 
stand suitable for various purposes, which, although not as 
easy to make as it looks, is not too hard for the amateur 
who has acquired some familiarity with his tools. It can 
be made of any desired height or proportions. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

FIG. 320. 



Get out the top as in the small stand last shown. The thick- 
ness can vary from " to " according to the size of the table. 
The legs should not be fastened directly to the top, but to a cleat 

FIG. 321. FIG. 322. 

framework to be screwed to the top (Fig. 322). This helps pre- 
vent the top from warping. The legs can be round or six-sided 
and should be tapered (see Rounding -sticks}. A tenon or dowel 
should be made at the upper end of each leg to fit into a hole in 
the cleat framework. 

The hexagonal shelf at the bottom can 
be of " stock and should be notched or 
grooved into the legs, the extreme angles 
of the shelf being cut off (Fig. 323). A 
fine screw toed from underneath through 
the shelf into the leg (Fig. 324) will 
strengthen the joint, and after the whole 
FIG. 323. i s fastened together, little brackets can be 

screwed with fine screws in the angle between the lower shelf and 
the leg. All the joints should be glued except 
where the cleats are fastened to the top, in which 
case screws alone should be used. Much care is 
required to make all these joints accurately, and 
to put the whole table together properly. 

The remaining details do not differ from those 
in the preceding cases. 

FIG. 324. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 

210 Wood-Working for Beginners 

smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Footstool or Cricket. A common low seat or cricket 
(Fig. 325) can be made of -|" or %" stock and of any desired 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 

Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look 
up any other references. 

The hardest part of this job is 
to cut the bevels where the sides 
meet the top and at the ends of 
the stretcher between the sides 
(see Bevelling}. You will prob- 

FIG. 325. 

ably find it easier to lay out and cut the ends of the sides before 
they are tapered. The edges of the top can be slightly rounded. 

After the parts are nailed together (see Nailing} set the nails 
(see Nail-set). The remaining details do not differ from those 
of the cases already described. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and finishing, in Part V. 

Out-Door Seat. The construction 
of the plain chair shown in Fig. 326 
is too obvious to require special de- 

Before beginning work read carefully 
Marking, Rule, Square, Saw, Plane, in 
Part V., and look up any other references. 

This seat can be made of thin plank. 
The most difficult part is the bevelling of 
the joints (see Bevelling). 

The remaining details do not differ from those in the preced- 
ing cases. For the painting see Painting, in Part V. 



Bookcase and Lounge. " Combination " articles of 
furniture are, as a rule, frequently undesirable on the ground 
of taste, and often are not as convenient as to have the parts 
made separately. But the amateur may sometimes find it 
desirable to join two or more different pieces to fit some 
particular spot or for some special reason. Examples are 
given in the bookcase and desk (Fig. 306), in the combina- 

FIG. 327. 

tion for a corner (Fig. 328), and in Fig. 327. These are 
given as suggestive of the kind of combinations that can be 
suitably undertaken by the amateur, and many simple ar- 
rangements can readily be contrived when desired. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

The new principles involved in this design are merely in the 
combination. The bookcase and the cupboard (which can be 
open if desired) are similar to those already shown, and the 
lounge is simply a shelf or box-like arrangement connecting the 
two. The back of the lounge is merely a board fastened by 
screws. The appearance of the article depends much upon the 

212 Wood-Working for Beginners 

upholstering. This should not be done until after the finishing 
of the woodwork. 

The remaining details are not different from those of the 
articles already shown. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

FIG. 328. 

Another combination, suitable for a corner, is shown in 
Fig. 328. The principles involved are the same as for the 
other articles already described and the construction is 

Table and Settle, or Chair-Table. This is an excel- 
lent form of table for the amateur to make and is useful for 
many purposes (Figs. 329 and 330). If of moderate size, it 
can be made of %" stock, but if large, and to be subjected 
to rough usage, thin plank will be more suitable for the 
ends and top. Another good form of chair-table can be 
made on the same principle by making a narrower seat, or 
a heavy-chair, and attaching a circular top by hinges to the 
back of the arms of the seat. 



Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

The framing of the lower part is similar to that of a box. Get 
out the upright ends and the front and back of the box part and 
fit them together as shown in Fig. 331, a rabbet (see Rabbet) 
or groove being cut to receive the bottom. The lid, which forms 

FIG. 329. 

the seat, can be arranged as shown (see Hinges]. The top, made 
like any table- top and fastened by screws to the deep cleats 
shown (see Screws], is pivoted to either side of the upright ends 
by pins when a seat is desired. When you wish to use the table 
and the top is lowered, it can be held in place by inserting pins in 
the other two holes also. The pins should not be less than " or 
f " in diameter. Care must be used in laying off the points for 
making these holes (see oring\ 

214 Wood- Working for Beginners 

FIG. 330. 

The remaining de- 
tails are not different 
from those of the 
articles already 

See end of intro- 
duction to this chap- 
ter for directions 
about smoothing, 
putting together, and 
finishing. See also 
Scraper, Sandpaper, 
and Finishing, \ n 
Part V. 

FIG. 331. 



Cabinet for Guns, Fishing-Rods, Etc. A convenient 
form is shown in Fig. 332. The construction is similar to 
that of the bookcases and cabinets already shown. The 
stock for the case itself can be -|" in thickness, for the larger 
divisions ", and for the small partitions ". 

FIG. 332. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

If you make the doors with glass panels, as shown, these can 
be set in rabbets cut on the inside of the door frames and held 
in place by strips of " quarter-round " moulding. The doors 
can be fitted between the sides or can lap over the edges of the 
sides, as you prefer (see Doors). The drawers can be omitted if 
too difficult to make well (see Drawers}, and small boxes of 
various sizes stored upon the shelves can be used as a substitute. 

216 Wood-Working for Beginners 

The remaining details are not different from those of the 
articles already shown. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Scraper, 
Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Picture Frames. These are often undertaken by the 
amateur, but making them well is much more difficult than 
it seems to the beginner. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

If you buy the prepared mouldings so much in use, they will, 
in most cases, have to be mitred at the corners, which is an 

operation by no means easy for the be- 
ginner, particularly when the moulding 
is sprung or twisted, as is often the 
case. Those joints which do not close 
properly must be trimmed with the 
plane, for which purpose the mitre 
shooting-board is useful (see page 94), 
and all four joints should fit accur- 
ately before finally putting together, 
FlG - 333- so that none will have to be sprung or 

twisted in order to close up. At the same time you must guard 
against winding by sighting across the face, and the angles must 
be tested with the square. The clamping together is important in 
such work. This can be done by laying the frame flat, nailing 
strips a short distance outside of each of the four corners, and 
driving in wedges between these strips and the frame until the 
joints are firmly held (Fig. 333). This can also be done by 
putting blocks at the corners and passing a doubled cord around, 
which, by inserting a stick, can be twisted until the frame is held 
tightly. But making mitred frames of moulding is not suitable 
work for the beginner and should be deferred until you have had 
some experience (see Mitring}. 



For a plain frame nothing is better than a joint with mortise 
and tenon (Fig. 334), the rabbet (see Rabbet) at the back being 
cut through to the ends of the shorter pieces (those having the 
tenons), but being stopped be- 
fore reaching the ends of the 
longer pieces (those having the 
mortises), as shown. The lat- 
ter should be got out too long, 
so as to overlap a little at the 
ends (Fig. 334). This enables 
you to take the frame apart 
more readily when fitting, and 
with less danger of injury to 
the work. The projecting ends 
can be sawed off after the 
frame has been glued together 
(see Mortising, Gluing, and 
Clamps). The final planing 
and smoothing of the front 
surface and the edges should 
be done after the frame is 
glued together, careful at- 
tention being paid to the di- IG< 334 ' 
rection of the grain (see Plane, Scraper, and Sandpaper). 

After a frame of this kind is all done, an inner moulding with 
a row of beads, or some other simple form, can easily be fitted to 
the rabbet, if desired. 

See end of introduction to this chapter for directions about 
smoothing, putting together, and finishing. See also Finishing, 
in Part V, 



Wooden Chain. White pine or any other easily whit- 
tled, straight-grained wood can be used. Take a stick of 

FIG. 335. 

FIG. 336. 

FIG. 337. 

any length and from i" to 2" square. If very small the 
whittling is more difficult. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Knife, 
in Part V. 

Mark as shown (Fig. 335), and remove 
the wood at the corners, forming four rab- 
bets, giving a section of the piece the 
shape of a Greek cross (Fig. 336). Next 
lay out the links, alternating as shown in 
Fig. 337, and allowing space enough so that 
they can have some play when cut. By 
notching in from the outside and finally 
cutting away the wood within the links, 

they can be separated. The whittling must be done carefully, of 


A Few Miscellaneous Operations 219 

course, and wholly by cutting with a sharp knife. If you try to 
do it by prying or twisting with the blade, you will be likely to split 
the wood. Finally, round and smooth the links (Fig. 338), doing 
as much of this as you can before the links are separated. Use 
fine sandpaper (see Sandpaper}. Leave the chain in the natural 
wood or oil and shellac (see Finishing). 

Ball and Block. White pine or any other easily whittled, 
straight-grained wood will do for this whittling exercise 
(Fig- 339)- 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Knife, 
in Part V. 

First get out a cubical block, each edge of which may 
be, perhaps, i^" or 2" long. Gauge a line around each side 
parallel to the edge and about " from it (see Gauge}. Cut 
straight in on these lines and then make slanting 
cuts to meet those first made. Remove the wood 
on the same general principle as in cutting a notch, 
gradually shaping the middle part into spherical 
form; while the cuts which are parallel with the 
sides finally meet and form four posts between the 
top and bottom. The wood must be removed by 
cuts, not by prying. Trim the ball to be as nearly 
spherical as you can. If you wish to make the 
ring or handle shown on top, additional length 
must be allowed in getting out the original block. The whole 
can be sandpapered with fine sandpaper (see Sandpaper} and 
finished with oil or shellac (see Finishing}. 

Box-making. In laying out common boxes, bear in 
mind that the sides, top, and bottom usually lap over the 
ends, the sides over the ends, and the top and bottom 
over the sides and ends (Fig. 340). Sometimes, however, 
to avoid joints showing on the front, the front and back are 

FIG. 339. 

220 Wood- Working for Beginners 

made to lap over the top (Fig. 341), occasionally the ends 
lap over the back (Fig. 342), and other arrangements are 

KIG. 340. 

FIG. 341. 

sometimes made. Do not rely on glue for these common 
square joints in box-work, but place your dependence on 

nails or screws. 

Either lid or bottom or both can 

sometimes project slightly to good 

FIG. 342. 

FIG. 343. 

advantage (Fig. 343). In nice work, however, the bottom 
is more often set in so as not to show, either simply fitting 
in between the sides and ends or into a rabbet (see Rabbet) 
cut in the lower edge (Fig. 344, showing box bottom up). 
The lid or cover can be hinged to the top edge of the back 
of the box, or a narrower lid can be used and hinged to a strip 
fastened at the back of the box (Fig. 345). Plain lids of this 
sort, for everything but rough or temporary work, should 

A Few Miscellaneous Operations 221 

be cleated, either by end cleats, by framing, or simply by 
cleats on the under side (see Cleats and Doors]. 

FIG. 344. FIG. 345. 

Remember that the joints will be held more tightly (for a 
permanent box) if you " toe " the nails (see Nailing]. 

Mitring is a common way of making box-joints. It is, 
however, one of the poorest of all ways in point of strength, 
and unless done with much skill, more skill than the aver- 
age amateur usually acquires, the joints are very liable to 
come apart, or at least gape open, and be weaker and look 
worse than the common, squarely fitted joint first shown. 

Glue can be used and is a help. Mitred joints can, however, 
be strengthened by splines or keys or pieces let into saw-kerfs 
(see Mitring). 

A mitred box is hard for an amateur to put together, particu- 
larly when it is to be glued. The whole process should be re- 
hearsed before gluing. Everything must fit exactly before you 
begin to finally put the box together. If you get one corner out 
of place, all four will probably be thrown out of position before 
you get through puttering with them, and the glue become cold 
and the operation be spoiled. Only a skilful amateur can make 
a box with nicely fitted mitred joints that will hold permanently. 

There are various other ways of making joints by machine 
(see Joints]. The rabbeted joint shown in Fig. 346 can be 

222 Wood-Working for Beginners 

FIG. 346. 

made by hand very well, but so much quicker with a circu- 
lar saw that you will save much time by having it done at a 
mill. It is a good, strong, neat joint and shows less wood 
at the end than the common way. When it is allowable to 
round what little end wood there is (Fig. 
345) it makes the joint quite inconspic- 
uous. Glue can also be used to advant- 
age with this joint on account of the 

Dowelling the corners is a method 
sometimes used. It is easier than mit- 
ring, but by no means a strong joint, 
unless skilfully made. The principal ad- 
vantage of dowelling is in cases where it 
is objectionable to have nails show. But, 
as a rule, there is not much gain in trying to conceal joints. 
Certainly not unless you can do the work in the best of style. 
Learn first to make the common, plain joints accurately, 
and you can then attempt the more difficult ones with some 
chance of success. The joints can sometimes be reinforced 
to good advantage by triangular corner-pieces or posts, 
glued and screwed in place. 

There is no better or more workmanlike way of putting 
boxes together than by some form of dovetailing (see Dove- 
tailing), but this process is hardly one for the beginner to 
undertake, and should be postponed until he has acquired 
considerable skill, for, though the principle of laying out 
and cutting dovetails is easy to understand, much exactness 
is required in the execution. 

Where the box does not open at the top but lower down, 
as in Fig. 347, the best way is not to make the two parts 
separately, but simply to put together a tight box and then 
saw it apart wherever you wish to have it open. 

A Few Miscellaneous Operations 223 

Be careful to gauge accurately the line by which to saw it open 
(see Gauge}, and not to drive any nails too near this line. Any 
which you omit can easily be added after the sawing. Saw the 
box open very carefully on the line. Smooth the edges after the 
saw, but take pains not to plane away the wood too hastily, for a 
very little carelessness will spoil the joint and necessitate a general 
truing of the edges. 

FIG. 348. 

A good form for a plain chest is shown in Fig. 348. The 
construction is the same as in the other cases. The bottom 
can be fitted to a groove cut around on the inside and can 
be inserted when the box is put together, or for a rougher 
job can be simply nailed in place. 

A simple form of tool-chest is shown in Fig. 349. This 
can be made of any size desired and of any wood. It is 
usually as well to make a good-sized chest, for the cost is 
but little more than to make a small one. Hard wood 
will be much more durable than soft. Stock from f" to |-" 
in thickness will be suitable. 

Unless you have had considerable experience you had best be 
content with the simpler joints rather than to attempt dovetailing 
the corners, as shown in the cut. It is not necessary to cut a 
rabbet for the bottom, because of the base-board or moulding 
which is to be nailed around the bottom, and the latter can be 
nailed or screwed directly to the edge, before the moulding is put 
around. The rest of the construction of the chest is obvious and 

224 Wood-Working for Beginners 

like the cases already shown. If the moulding around the lid is 
to be arranged as shown, it will be best to fit the lock first, as it 
will be easier to attach the hasp of the lock before the moulding 
has been added (see Locks and Hinges). 

At about two or three inches from the top, fasten a ledge on the 
inside of the front and back. This can be about \" thick by \" 

FIG. 349. 

deep and is for the sliding-tray, shown in the cut, to rest upon. 
This tray can be of soft wood, from " to f " in thickness, and can 
be divided as you wish. It will often be advantageous to arrange 
the lid and the top tray so that tools can be fastened on the inside 
of the lid. Saws and various flat tools are often thus disposed of, 
being held in place by straps, blocks, and buttons. You can also 
arrange a rack around the inside of your chest for such tools as 
chisels, gouges, etc. When kept in trays, such tools should be 
separated by divisions. The various details of making such a 

A Few Miscellaneous Operations 225 

chest do not differ from those of the articles just described in the 
preceding chapter on Furniture. 

In nailing together rough boxes for packing or some tem- 
porary purpose, you do not need to devote much thought 
to the arrangement of the pieces with reference to the direc- 
tion of the grain, so long as you put them together in a way 
that your common-sense tells you will be strong. Examina- 
tion of a few packing-cases will show you all you need to 
know for such work. But when you make a better grade 
of box, to be glued, regard must be paid to the direction of 
the grain and the matter of expansion and contraction. In 
the majority of boxes and chests the grain of the sides and 
ends should run in the same way horizontally or around 
the box, as shown in the illustrations. 

This gives a strong edge all around at the top of the box and 
permits the use of glue (with some joints) where the sides and 
ends meet, as the parts glued will thus naturally tend to expand 
and contract alike. When the grain goes in opposite directions 
(/. e. , at right angles), such joints, unless short, should not be 
glued. Where the top board is fastened to the sides and ends of 
the box, as in Fig. 347, it should not be glued, except in the case 
of a small box, and the grain should run lengthways, so that 
there will be as little change as possible due to the expansion and 
contraction (see Chapter IV. on Laying Out the Work, and Ap- 

When several boards are required to cover the top or bottom 
of a box, if you wish to have as few cracks as possible and to 
avoid the swelling and shrinking across the grain as much as you 
can, lay the boards lengthways of the box, but if you merely wish 
for strength, lay them crossways. 

Care must be taken about testing the angles with the 
square, and guarding against winding (see Winding-sticks), in 

226 Wood-Working for Beginners 

making nice boxes, as with all framed work. If the bottom 
and top are got out accurately they will, of course, assist in 
the matter of getting the box square, and for common work 
carefully fitting the bottom (or bottom and top) in place 
will be all the " squaring " required. In nice work where 
the joints are glued, waste pieces should be placed over the 
joints (across the grain of the sides) before applying the 
clamps, not merely to prevent the work being marred by 
the clamps, but also to distribute the pressure and ensure 
as close a joint as possible (see Clamps). 

The final smoothing of the outside of a box should be 
done after it is permanently put together, allowing plenty 
of time, if glue is used in the joints, for it to dry before 
dressing off the surfaces. The inside must, of course, be 
smoothed before putting together. 

The variety of forms in which boxes are made is too great 
for all to be specified, but the same general principles apply 

to nearly all forms of 
box-work. In the case 
of chests or large boxes, 

you will often see them 
with the sides and ends 
panelled, but this is 
rather an elaborate form 
for the beginner to at- 

had best be avoided by the inexperienced 
which is not too hard for the amateur is 

FIG. 350. 

tempt and 

worker. A form 

shown, however, in Fig. 350, the sides and ends being fitted 

to grooves or rabbets cut in posts at each corner. 

The work of getting out the stock for boxes and making 
the joints can be done so quickly and accurately (and usually 
cheaply) by a circular saw or other machine that much time 
is saved, when making nice boxes, by having the parts sawed 

A Few Miscellaneous Operations 227 

at a mill. The remarks made at the end of the introduction 
to Chapter X. (on Furniture), in regard to getting out your 
work, putting together, smoothing, and finishing, apply 
equally to making the better class of boxes and chests, and 
the general details of the work do not differ from those of 
the articles shown in that chapter. See, also, Marking, Rule, 
Square, Saw, Plane, Nailing', Nail-set, Screws, Hinges, Locks, 
Scraper, Sandpaper, and Finishing, in Part V. 

Toy Boats. A few suggestions about the woodwork of 
the hulls of toy boats may be useful to the beginner. The 
details of rigging and discussion of the merits of the various 
types and designs are matters which do not come within the 
scope of this book, and you can easily find information upon 
these points. 

Making your boats yourself is half the fun, of course, 
and capital practice with tools as well as a valuable intro- 
duction to the building of model yachts, which you may 
undertake later, and to the general subject of boat-building 
and sailing. Making different types and sailing them is 
both interesting and instructive. 

You will quite often see little boats fitted up as exact 
copies in miniature of real vessels, with all the complexity 
of fittings, rigging, and minor details found in the larger 
boats. These models are often interesting specimens of 
skill, as pieces of handiwork, but the time can usually 
be spent to better advantage in some other way. If you 
wish actually to sail your boats, leave out everything which 
is not essential to successful sailing. 

Very little skill, and no instruction, is required to make 
the simpler forms of toy boats familiar to the small boy who 
lives near the water. Almost any scrap of shingle or piece 
of wood upon which a little mast can be raised will sail, 

228 Wood-Working for Beginners 

as the small boy well knows. The difficulties begin when 
something more like a boat is attempted, and the first and 
greatest of all difficulties is that of the design, as you will 
discover later if you attempt scientific model yacht-building. 
But advanced model yacht-work requires much skill more 
than can be expected of a beginner. At first, in beginning to 
make toy boats, copy any successful boat as nearly as you can. 
After you get beyond making boats of shingles and scraps 

of board, you may very 
likely make something like 
Fig. 35 1 , which is too simple 
to require special descrip- 
tion; but when you begin 
to build regular boats you 
will find enough to tax your 
wood-working skill to t h e 
FlG - 35i. utmost. You had best be- 

gin with simple forms and not make your first attempts 
too large. 

One way of making the hull (as of course you know) is to 
cut it from a solid block of wood of the 
required size. Another way is to build 
it up of layers of board laid on one an- 
other horizontally (Fig. 352).' FIG. 352. 

1 Still another way sometimes used for model yachts is to build the hull 
much in the same way that a real vessel is built making a framework or 
skeleton and covering it with little planks, but this method (though a good 
one in some respects) requires more skill than can be expected of the average 
amateur, and this mode of construction should not be attempted until you become 
a skilful workman and accomplished in the building of regular model yachts. 

If your boat is quite small it will probably be easier and better in most cases 
to cut the hull from a solid block ; but if much more than two feet in length it 
is usually better to build it in layers. 

Either of these methods can be used in any case, but for a small boat the 

A Few Miscellaneous Operations 229 

The greatest care must be taken in the selection of the 
wood. It should be free from knots, checks, and bad grain, 
and above all things must be thoroughly seasoned. No- 
thing is better than the best quality of clear white pine. 
Mahogany is excellent, but is more costly and harder to 

Take a simple model of the fin-keel type (Fig. 353). First you 

FIG. 353- 

must have the design or drawing giving the 
different plans or views. If the drawing is 
smaller than the actual size you wish to make 
the boat, it must, of course, be enlarged and a full-sized work- 
ing drawing made. 1 

building in layers is more difficult, while for a large one it is hard to find a 
block that will be sufficiently free from defects. 

1 In making the plans for a boat, three views are usually drawn, known as 
the sheer plan, the body plan, and the half-breadth plan. These correspond 
to the "front or side elevation," "end elevation," and "plan" in ordinary 
drawings, and give side, end, and top views of the boat, or of one-half of it, 
which is all that is needed, as the sides are of course alike. Several equidistant 

230 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Chisel, Gouge, Spokeshave, Paring, etc., and look up 
any other references. 

To cut the hull from a solid block, first prepare the block of 
the right dimensions, and plane it, making sure that the sides 
are true and square with one another. The sheer plan must 
now be transferred to the sides of the block, either by copying 
it on the wood by the use of transfer paper placed between the 

4 3 

FIG. 354. 

drawing and the wood, by cutting out a pattern, or by fastening 
the drawing itself on one side of the wood and a reversed dupli- 
cate on the other side. In the same way transfer the half- 
breadth plan twice to the top of the block, on each side of a 
line drawn along the centre, reversing the pattern for one side, 
of course. Also continue the centre line down each end and 
along the bottom. 

If the top and side outlines can be sawed to the lines marked 
with a band-saw or jig-saw, the expense will be but slight and 
considerable labour will be saved. Saw down on the lines i i, 
2 2, 3 3, etc. (Fig. 354), nearly to the sheer line shown in Fig. 

horizontal lines are drawn across the plans. One of these represents the line 
of the water when the boat has its proper load. It is called the load water- 
line. The other lines being parallel to it represent other imaginary levels, at 
equal distances apart like the lines which would be made by the water if the 
boat sunk deeper or floated higher. Other lines are also added to show vertical 
and horizontal, longitudinal and cross-sections, at regular intervals, and also 
other longitudinal sections, but these details you will find fully described in 
works on yacht- (and model yacht- ) building. 

A Few Miscellaneous Operations 231 

355. In your first attempts at making small boats it may be well 
to omit the deck sheer, leaving the top flat (Fig. 354), as this 
simplifies matters in the beginning. Also, saw off the superfluous 
wood shown by the shaded parts of Fig. 355. Now clamp or 
wedge the block, bottom up, firmly on the bench, in case you 
have no vise arrangement by which it can be properly held, and 
rough it out approximately to shape with a wide chisel (see 
Paring) or the draw-knife (see Draw-knife). 

FIG. 355. 

The operation of shaping and hollowing out is slow work and 
requires much care. A little haste may spoil the work of hours. 
As the bottom begins to approach the desired shape you must 
have something more than the eye by which to gauge your cutting, 
for a very little deviation from the true curve may spoil your boat. 
It is very important to get both sides of the boat alike. On card- 
board or stiff paper, mark a series of patterns of the different sec- 
tions shown on the body plan. Cut out each of these patterns so 
as to save the part which is the reverse of the shape of the section 
of the boat, thus forming a series of templates, which you can 
apply to the hull at each section to test your cutting, until the 
templates just fit the wood at their respective sections, when the 
shape of the hull will, of course, agree with the plan. 

The spokeshave, and sometimes the plane, can be used to good 
advantage in the final shaping (see Spokeshave]. Especial care is 

232 Wood-Working for Beginners 

required not to slice off too much, and you will, of course, work, 
as a rule, from the centre (or amidships) towards the ends. The 
block can be held in the lap or between the knees for this shap- 
ing, but it is better for all kinds of crooked work to have the 
material firmly held by a vise or some other contrivance, so that 
not merely the hands of the worker are free, but the whole body 
as well. 

This form of hull is simple to make, in that the curves of the 

FIG. 356. 

outside are all convex. There are no concave surfaces and re- 
versed curves. The surface can be finally shaped by the use of 
the rasp, followed by a file, and finally smoothed with scraper 
or glass (see Scraper}. Do not use sandpaper until the hull is 

The inside must next be hollowed. Gauge a line around the 
upper side, -" from the edge, except at the bow and stern, where 
a greater distance should be allowed (Fig. 356). The hull must 
now be held firmly in some way. If you cannot contrive to clamp 
it firmly without bruising the outside, you should arrange some 
blocks (padding them with cloth or leather) in such a way that it 
can be held securely. It is better to spend an hour in fastening 
the block firmly than to attempt to steady it with one hand and 
to cut with the other. In all the shaping of the boat, both hands 
should be free if possible. Grasp the blade of the tool with the 
left hand, or lay the hand across it, so as to exert a back-pressure 
on the tool. This gives great control of the tool (see Paring}. 

Bore one or more holes (according to the size of the boat) 
downward from the top (Fig. 356), being very careful not to bore 
too deeply, but to leave at least half an inch of wood below the 

A Few Miscellaneous Operations 233 

hole (see Boring). Now run a groove with the gouge around the 
deck, inside of the line marked, and hollow out the inside with 
the gouge, cutting towards the middle. The holes bored will 
help in this process. Cut down straight from the line marked on 
the upper side until the thickness of the sides of the hull is re- 
duced to perhaps \ of an inch (Fig. 357). 
The object of the increased thickness at the 
gunwale is to stiffen the sides and give a bet- 
ter bearing for nailing down the deck. Be- 
low this point make the thickness as uniform 

FIG. 357. 

as you can, except for a narrow space at the very bottom where 
the keel is to be fastened, where it is often well to leave a thicker 
ridge (Fig. 357). 

Extreme care is required in hollowing the inside. It is best 
not to attempt to make the sides thinner than one fourth of an 
inch, unless you are a pretty good workman with a fair degree of 
patience, for it is hard to repair the damage if you cut too deeply. 
Templates can be made for the inside. You can tell quite well 
whether you are making the thickness uniform by the sense of 
feeling, gauging the thickness between the thumb and finger. 
Do not try to cut away too much at the bow and stern, as it will 

FIG. 358. 

weaken the boat, but leave a sufficient body of solid wood. 
Smooth the inside neatly with a flatter gouge (if you have it) 
than that with which you removed the bulk of the wood. 

Next, with a thin strip or batten, mark the line for the sheer of 
the deck by the saw-kerfs already made and remove the wood. 

234 Wood-Working for Beginners 

carefully to this sheer line. The outside can now be thoroughly 
sandpapered, first with, perhaps, No. i, and finally with No. oo. 
Get the surface as smooth as possible (see Sandpaper}. Next 
paint the outside and inside with two coats of white lead and oil 
(see Painting). It is a good plan to apply a coat of hot oil first. 
Now to make this same simple model by the method of layers 

FIG. 359. 

FIG. 360. 

FIG. 361. 

you will readily see that if you take a piece of board of a thick- 
ness equal to the distance between the water lines in the sheer 
plan (Fig. 353), and cut from it pieces of the shape of the water 
lines as shown in the half-breadth plan (Fig. 353), and also cut 
out the centres of the two upper pieces as shown in Figs. 358, 
359, 360, and then fasten these pieces one upon another as shown 

A Few Miscellaneous Operations 235 

in Fig. 361 you will see that you have built up the general form 
of the boat, and saved much of the labour of shaping and 

Before cutting out these layers, a centre line must be accurately 
marked along both sides and at the rounded ends, so that the 
layers can be put together in the correct positions. Also, for the 
same reason, mark the midship lines across each side and on 
the edges, as shown. In drawing the inside lines (for the part 
to be cut out), care must be taken to leave sufficient thickness at 
the sides to allow for the final shaping. The sawing of the layers 
had best be done at a mill with a band-saw and jig- or scroll-saw, 
but can be done by hand, of course. 

The boards or planks must be accurately dressed so as to make 
as perfect joints as possible when put together. If not convenient 
to make the thickness of the boards agree with the water lines of 
the plan, you can easily draw in new water lines to agree with 
the thickness of the board you may have say, f- " or f " apart. 
Glue must now be applied to the joints, and the pieces firmly 
clamped together between boards, or laid flat (bottom side up- 
wards) and weights applied. It is best not to cut out and glue 
up more than two or three layers at a time, lest they become bent 
or sprung. Care must be used in applying the pressure to make 
it uniform and not cause the somewhat flexible sides to be sprung 
or twisted out of shape (see Gluing and Clamps]. Do not delay 
this building-up operation needlessly. Do not leave the pieces 
lying around for a fortnight. Keep them all clamped up in the 
proper position, or under pressure, if you can, until the whole 
form is glued together, as such pieces spring out of shape very 

After the glue is thoroughly dry, complete the shaping of the 
outside and inside as in the case of the solid block, care being 
taken to pare off the projecting angles on the outside gradually, 
so as not to cut within the curve marked on the plan. 

The fin (when flaring at the top and not too thin) can also be 
made of wood, glued and screwed on, the lead being screwed to 

236 Wood- Working for Beginners 

the bottom with brass screws. 1 Be sure that the fin is in line with 
the centre line of the boat. 

Unless the boat is quite small it is best to fit in two or three 
deck beams to connect the sides and support the deck (Fig. 357). 
These should be of thin stuff (perhaps T 3 ff " thick and " wide), 
set on edge and very slightly arched, the ends being fitted into 
gains cut in the sides, and nailed with fine brads. They can also 
be glued. 

The deck should be of thin stuff (perhaps \" planed). Mark 
carefully on the piece the deck outline and cut it approximately 
to shape, but well outside of the line. Fasten small blocks of 
wood to the under side of the deck wherever any attachments for 
the rigging are to be fastened. Paint the lower side, and when 
dry bore a row of holes with a very small brad-awl (see Awl} all 
around the edge, %" inside of the line. Smear the top edge of 
the hull with thick white lead, or white lead putty, and nail the 
deck in place with very fine wire brads, perhaps " in length. 
Care must be used not to split the deck or drive the nails through 
the sides of the hull. Fine brass screws can be used if necessary. 
The overhanging edge of the deck can be trimmed down carefully 
with chisel, plane, or knife. The outside of the deck can now 
be painted. 

The rudder can be fixed in a brass tube, the ends of which can 
be set in lead. The mast can also be stepped in a brass tube, or 
simply pass through the deck to the bottom, where it can be 
stepped in a smaller hole, which must be bored with care lest it go 

1 The fin can be cut from sheet metal (brass or sheet-iron) and inserted in a 
thin saw-kerf cut exactly in the centre of the bottom, being set in thick white 
lead, or it can be riveted to thin plates screwed to the bottom of the boat, or 
lips can be bent over alternately on either side of the upper edge of the fin and 
screwed to the bottom. 

The amount of lead required for the bulb at the bottom of the fin can be 
determined by loading the hull with weights until it is sunk to the water line. 
The weights will, of course, represent the weight of lead required. This can be 
cast in a mould and riveted to the bottom of the fin, 

A Few Miscellaneous Operations 237 

When you come to making models of less simple form 
those having hollows and reversed curves in their outside 
form, as the majority of boats do the difficulty of shaping 
accurately is much increased and more care is required, but 
the principle of construction remains the same. 

Suppose, for example, you are ambitious enough to under- 
take such forms as those which compete for the America's 
Cup, for instance, you will find it difficult to carry the pro- 

FIG. 362. 

cess of building by horizontal layers below a certain point 
(Fig. 362) but the keel and lower part can be added by glu- 
ing (or gluing and screwing) a piece of board or plank on 
edge (or two pieces, if necessary) to the bottom. The lead 
can, in turn, be fastened to the lower edge of the keel by 
screws. Models of such yachts are not always the best 
forms for toy boats, however desirous you may be to repro- 
duce in miniature these famous boats. 



HOUSE-BUILDING in its simple forms, and on a small 
scale, is very suitable work for the beginner in wood- 

One of the most important things to bear in mind is not 
to be too ambitious in your early attempts. Content your- 
self with the simplest forms until you have attained suffi- 
cient skill to undertake more difficult buildings. 

All the work of such structures as are here shown can, 
in case of necessity, be done by one person alone ; but 
unless, perhaps, in the case of the smallest and simplest 
houses it is much better for two or more persons to join 
forces, as much time will thereby be saved, for the lumber 
can be handled much more easily and quickly by two than 
by one. This will be the best way if the building is to be 
done by boys, in which case by all means have some system 
for carrying on the work. 

You know men usually work under the direction of a head 
man, or foreman, and, when there is no head man, they de- 
fer as a matter of course to the one of their number who is 
the best fitted to take charge of the work. Choose one boy 
master-builder, foreman, or boss, letting him assign to each 


House-Building for Beginners 239 

his part of the work and leaving to him the decision of 
questions that arise in regard to the details. If one of you 
is clearly more of a mechanic than the others, choose him 
foreman ; otherwise it will be a good plan to have the office 
filled by each in turn for perhaps one day apiece. Let the 
foreman divide the work as fairly as possible. That is, in- 
stead of having one boy saw off all the boards while another 
drives all the nails, arrange regular " shifts " at short inter- 
vals, letting the two change places and work perhaps every 
hour. This plan will prevent much confusion and perhaps 
disagreement, which might even cause the work to be given 
up an unfortunate result which sometimes happens to 
boys' undertakings. 

It is not simply starting in with an understanding that 
you are to take turns when one may think he is tired of 
what he happens to be doing, but it is the regular rotation 
of work and responsibility at fixed intervals that will ensure 
harmony and a successful completion of the work. 

The situation is a very important matter which will be 
spoken of in treating of the larger structures farther on, but 
there is one thing which should be borne in mind for even 
the smallest play-house in the back yard of a town lot, and 
that is not to build it in a hollow where the water will col- 
lect to make it damp or uninhabitable. A flat roof should 
also be avoided, as it is much harder to keep tight than one 
which has sufficient pitch to shed the water freely. 

You can determine the kind of a house to build and its 
general dimensions according to the requirements of the 
case, but you will, of course, wish it to be attractive in ap- 
pearance, however small it may be; and therefore, in making 
the drawings, it is essential to have in view the block-form, 
or general shape and proportions. If these are not pleasing 
and agreeable to the eye, your house will be unattractive, 

240 Wood-Working for Beginners 

for nothing you can do in the way of ornamentation or 
elaborate details will make up for poor shape and proportions. 

To design a building (however small) with a pleasing and 
attractive exterior is, however, no easy task. If you can 
make a perspective sketch of your proposed house with 
reasonable accuracy, it will be a great help, as the regular 
working drawings (the plan, elevations, etc.), however well 
made, often fail to give one a clear mental picture of how 
the structure as a whole will look. 

A little model will be of the greatest service in deter- 
mining whether the shape and proportions of your house 
are good. A model is easily made of pasteboard with suffi- 
cient accuracy for this purpose. It is quite remarkable how 
different many objects appear when actually made, from the 
way one thinks they will appear, in spite of the most careful 
drawings; therefore do not despise this simple precaution of 
making a model in cases where attractive appearance is an 
element, for it may save you from putting up a structure 
which will be a continual eyesore. 

The amateur (like many professional builders) is much 
more liable to make his work too elaborate and with too 
many attempts at ornamentation than to make it too plain. 
So give your first attention to the block-form, and then to 
the details. Do not cover your house with an embroidery 
of jig-sawing, fanciful turning, superfluous brackets, and the 
like, in the effort to make it pretty or to imitate the vulgar 
details of inferior summer cottages. The amateur is also 
liable in the case of very small buildings to make them too 
tall in proportion to their ground dimensions. A tall, nar- 
row house is seldom homelike or attractive, whether it be 
six feet square or sixty. 

Finally, be simple and modest in your designing, avoid 
meaningless" gingerbread " work, do not set your house 

House-Building for Beginners 241 

up on stilts, as it were, but hospitably near to the ground ; 
have generous doors and windows, avoid flashy and gaudy 
colours in painting, cultivate plants and vines to run over the 
outside, and keep the surroundings neat and tidy. 

The variety of small structures from which to select for 
your early attempts is almost endless. You can find many 
ideas for your designing and the construction in every town 
and in various publications. Only simple types will be 
treated here, involving merely such principles of construction 
as you can readily apply to such other designs as you may 
wish to carry out. As it is impracticable to repeat all the 
suggestions and details under each structure treated here, 
the prospective builder who should begin with any of the 
later examples had best read these chapters through from 
the beginning before starting on the actual work. 

One of the simplest and most easily built small structures 
that you can make is that with a single-pitched or shed or 
" lean-to " roof; that is, with the roof slanting only one 
way. This style of construction, though commonly applied 
to a rather humble class of buildings, is by no means to be 
despised, the ease with which it can be built by boys or 
amateurs being one of its marked advantages. You will 
find this simple form of building capitally suited to many 
purposes, and a good type with which to begin. 

A Play-house or Play-store. You know that an ordinary 
wooden building has a framework of timbers, a kind of 
skeleton upon which the boarding is nailed. This will be 
shown in the following chapters, but a very small house or 
cabin, like that shown in Fig. 363, suitable for a play-house 
for boys and girls, can be built very well in a simpler way 
by making the four sides separately and then nailing them 
together as you would do if making a box. There is no 

242 Wood- Working for Beginners 

floor (except the ground), and the roof is to be nailed down 
on top of the four sides as you would nail the cover on the 

FIG. 363. 

A little house, with trees a-row, 

And, like its master, very low ! Pope. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Nailing, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

Fig. 365 shows one of the sides (inside view). It is made of 
boards running horizontally, with an upright cleat at each edge, 
and another cleat at the top. 

Fig. 366 shows the back (inside view), made in the same way as 
the sides, except that each cleat is set back from the edge if", 
thus forming a rabbet in which to fit either side when the house 
is put together. The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth boards from 
the top are not nailed to the cleats, but are omitted, to leave space 
for a large open window. 

House-Building for Beginners 243 








FIG. 364. 

FIG. 365. 

FIG. 366. 

244 Wood-Working for Beginners 

FIG. 367. 

Fig. 367 shows the front (inside view), four upright cleats being 
used and a large opening left for the doorway. 

First estimate the stock you will require (see Chapter IV.), 1 
and try to get dry wood without too many large knots. 

You can get along very well for such work as this on the floor, 

or even the ground, with a couple 
of boxes for horses, but a bench 
and horses are a great conven- 

Make the sides first, disregard- 
ing the slant for the roof. Take a 
matched-board and square off one 
end of it, if it is not already square. 
Then measure 5' io" 2 from that 
end, mark across by the square, 
and saw the piece off. Use this 
piece (5' io* long) as a measure to mark the lengths of enough 
pieces to make the two sides. If you saw them off as you measure 
them, one by one, be sure to mark all the lengths by the first 
piece, and not by the one last sawed, or they will probably vary 
in length. 

When you put the boards together to form the sides, be sure 
that the ends are in line. Use the edge of a straight board for a 
straight-edge to get them in line, or drive them against the side 
of the room, if that is straight, or temporarily nail a straight-edged 

1 To find the number of square feet in the cleats, first find the number of 
" running" feet, that is, the total length of the cleats if they were stretched 
out in a long line, like one of the rails of a railroad track. Then, as the cleats 
are 3" wide (or one fourth of a foot), it will take four running feet to make one 
square foot. Therefore divide the number of running feet by four and the 
quotient will be the number of square feet. 

9 Boards twelve feet long will be the best to buy for this house, because you 
can get two lengths from each board without waste. You could not be sure, 
however, of getting two lengths of exactly six feet from each twelve-foot board, 
because the ends are frequently checked or damaged in some way ; so it will be 
safest to make the length 5' io", as given above. 

House-Building for Beginners 245 

board to the floor and keep them driven up squarely against 

Make sure, also, by testing with the square or by measuring, 
that each side of the house when made is a rectangle and not a 
rhomboid, or the whole house will be askew when put together. 

When you fit the matched edges be sure to make the joints as 
tight as you can, but do not pound directly on the tongued and 
grooved edges with the hammer. Take a short piece of waste 
boarding, fit it to the tongue or groove wherever you wish to 
strike, and hit this waste piece with the hammer. 

You will see that there is no need of sawing out a square hole 
for the window, as you can put in short pieces at each side of 
the window-space. 

Nail the upright cleats at the edges with i\" nails, driving two 
into each board in the way shown in the cut, bearing in mind 
that the cleats must all be on the inside of the house, and also to 
have the tongues of the boards uppermost when the house is put 
together. Mark the front edge of each side in some way to pre- 
vent any mistake. The reason for putting the tongues upward 
and the grooves downward is because the joints will shed the 
water better, as otherwise each groove would be a little trough 
into which the rain could soak. Measure 5' 6" from the bottom 
on the front edge of each side and 4' 6" on the back edge. Draw 
a straight line on the outside between these points and it will give 
the slant for the roof. Saw the boards and cleats by this line and 
then fit and nail the top cleats as in Fig. 365, or nail the top cleats 
first and saw the boards off by them. 

Next make the back in the same way, setting the cleats if" 
away from the edges. Leave out the boards at the window- 

Make the shutter, and trim off its tongued and grooved edges 
(see Paring, etc.) before nailing the back of the house together, 
as you can thus determine more easily the space to be left open. 
Also trim off the tongued edge of the board coming next below 
the shutter. Leave the open space a little wider than the shutter 

246 Wood- Working for Beginners 

(say ' wider) to allow for possible swelling of the boards. 
When you nail the cleats on the drop-shutter, be sure to use 
nails long enough to clinch (see Nailing), or use screws (see 

The front is to be made in the same way, the width of the 
door-space being 27^", and of the boarding at each side, 21^". 
Have the two inner cleats project about an inch inside the edge 
of the doorway for the door to hit against when shut (Fig. 
367), and " toe " or clinch the nails for these cleats, or use 
a few screws, so that the slamming of the door will not loosen 

Now the four sides are ready to put together. Find a spot as 
nearly level as you can for your house. Do not, however, put it 
in a hollow where the floor will be flooded with water when 
it rains. Hold up the front and one side in the right position, 
press them closely together at the corner, and drive in a couple 
of nails to hold them until you can get the other parts in place. 
Then fit on the other side and the back in the same way. Try 
the four corners with the steel square, and when you have them 
right nail all the corners strongly with 2\" nails. If you have no 
large square, measure the diagonals with a stick, altering the 
angles at the corners until the diagonals are equal. Toe the 
nails at the corners, and, in fact, if you can do it neatly, it will 
be stronger to toe the nails throughout the work. 

Now get out boards 6' long for the roof, to run from side to 
side. When you nail them on have them project \" all around. 
Cover the roof with roofing- or sheathing-paper. Lay it in strips 
from side to side, beginning at the back and letting the second 
strip overlap the first, as shingles are laid. Three strips will 
cover the roof once. Of course you can cover it with as many 
layers as you wish to pay for. Fasten the paper with roofing 
nails or tacks. Drive them close together, but only where the 
strips lap and at the edges of the roof. You can bend the edges 
of the paper down over the edge of the roof to cover the joint 
underneath and nail neat strips of wood outside to cover the 


House-Building for Beginners 247 

edges of the paper, or you can simply nail the paper around the 
edge of the roof. 

In making the door (Fig. 368) clinch the nails which fasten 
the cleats, or use screws, and trim off the tongued and grooved 
edges, as with the drop-shutter. 

Now hang the door and drop-shutter with two strap-hinges 
each. Place the door and shutter exactly in position 
(shut), and tack them temporarily in place with a few 
nails, or wedge them. Then carefully placing each 
hinge so that the pin on which it turns is just in line 
with the crack between the door and the door-frame, 
mark points for the screws. Bore holes for the screws 
and fasten the hinges in place (see Screws). 

Put a latch, a catch, or a hasp and padlock on the 
door, and a hasp or screw-eye and hook on the inside F IG ^68 
for the shutter. Also fix a brace to hold the shutter 
when lifted, or you can arrange a rope to pass up from the out- 
side of the shutter and around a pulley to the inside of the house, 
where it can hang down and be used to hold the shutter up by 
fastening it round a cleat or a couple of nails. 

You can fix a shelf inside under the open window at the back 
(Fig. 364, Plan), resting on cleats nailed to the sides of the 
house, and also put in a seat at one or both sides, supporting the 
middle by a short post or a short piece of board on edge. 

A few strips will serve to hold the lights of window-glass in 
place. The house is now ready to occupy. 

Of course you can save a good deal of labour (and lose some 
experience) at slight expense by having the boards sawed off 
squarely of the given lengths at a mill, often where you buy the 
wood. In this case, remember to make a list of the number of 
boards of each length to take to the mill. 

If you would like to be able to move your house or to take it 
apart and store it during the winter, you can fasten the four sides 
and roof together with screws, or hook them together on the 
inside with stout screw-eyes and hooks. You will find this way 

248 Wood- Working for Beginners 

in very common use by builders and contractors in the little port- 
able tool-houses, offices, and shops which they take apart and 
move from place to place. 

FIG. 369. 

Play-store or Booth. A good form for a simple play- 
store or booth (Fig. 369) can, if small, be constructed on the 
same box-like principle as the little building just shown, and 
the details of construction are so similar that special direc- 
tions for this design are unnecessary. If large, it should, 
however, have a frame, which you can readily pattern after 
that shown in Fig. 371. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Screivs, Paint- 
ing, in Part V., and look up any 
other references. 

By using heavier cleats, as 2" x 2" 
or 2" x 4", on the ends, those on the 
front and back can be omitted, and 
the boards nailed directly to the 
sides. An arrangement for one end 
(that with the door) is suggested in 
Fig- 37i 2 " x 2 " o f 2" x 4" joist being 
FIG. 370. used. 

House-Building for Beginners 249 

A shelf or counter can be fitted inside the drop-window for the 
display of your wares. 

This general shape can often be advantageously used for 
a quite good-sized building a little cottage, for instance 
and when an addition to a larger structure is desired, it is 
sometimes the best form for the purpose, for its shape renders 
it more easily attached than any other form of ell (Fig. 391). 

A building of this style, however suitable as an attach- 
ment to a larger structure, will not be an attractive object 
in some situations. It will not stand alone, regardless of the 
surroundings, as well as some other forms. Therefore it is 
well to consider, before deciding to build anything of this 
kind larger than the play-houses and stores just shown, 
whether your house will have a building, a fence, or a wall 
for a background; or a steep bluff or ledge under which it 
will nestle, or trees or shrubbery behind or around it. In 
such cases it will often be attractive in appearance. If, 
however, it is to be put in a prominent place where it can 
be viewed from all positions, it may be better to select some 
other type. 

Frame for Larger Building with Lean-to Roof. While 
the simple box-like arrangement described above is suitable 
for a very small structure, it must be discarded for a frame 
of some sort when you undertake a larger and more perman- 
ent building. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Screws, Painting, in Part V., and look up 
any other references. 

This frame can be put together as shown for the framed 
structures described farther on, the only difference being at the 
top. A simple method of framing is shown in Fig. 371, 

250 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Fig. 382 shows a simple way of fitting boards around the edge 
of the roof where it overhangs, and other arrangements for this 
detail can be found in the various illustrations. It is not neces- 
sary to have roofs overhang, even for a large building, but it is 

FIG. 371. 

usually desirable on the ground of appearance and for shedding 
the water away from the walls. 

For matters relating to the foundation, see pages 259-264. 

Play-house or Cabin. The house shown in Fig. 372 can 
be put together in the way already shown. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Screws, Painting, in Part V., and look up 
any other references. 

The ground dimensions can be 5' or 6' x 7' or 8'. The ends 
must be made higher than the sides, as shown, to allow for the 
slant of the roof. Mark lines, using a straight-edge, to give the 
slant for both sides of the roof, and saw the boards off by these 
lines. A short cleat can be added at the top in the middle to 
stiffen these top boards. 

House-Building for Beginners 251 

After the sides and ends are put together, get out two boards, 
of the shape shown in Fig. 373, to rest in four rectangular notches 
cut in the front and back sides of the house. These pieces are 
to support the roof-boards, and their upper edges are to be cut at 

FIG. 372. 

the same angle as the top of either end of the house. Nail these 
pieces firmly in place at each end (Fig. 374). 

Now get out boards for the roof, to run from end to end and 
about 4" longer than the house. Begin to nail them on at the 
top, and have the roof overhang the sides and ends 2" all 

You can easily put in the window-sash, either by hinging it so 
as to swing open, or by having it slide 
to the right or left on strips nailed 
above and below it, as shown in Fig. 

FIG. 373. 

The roof-boards can also be laid the other way by putting in a 
ridge-piece in the form of a piece of studding or joist of any size 

252 Wood-Working for Beginners 

not less than 2" x 2" (Fig. 377), or even a board on edge, to 
which the upper ends of the roof-boards can be nailed. 

FIG. 374. 

Another form of roof, but arranged in the same way, is shown 
in Fig. 375. 

You will require a compass-saw for the curves, or you can have 
them sawed by a band-saw, or the wood can be trimmed to the 
line with the hatchet and draw-knife or chisel (see Paring). 

Another way to put any such little structure as this together is 
to have the sheathing run up and down and the cleats horizontally. 
This makes a neater structure than the way just given. The 

general principle 
of the construction 
is the same, the 
four sides being 
FlG - 375- made separately 

and then fastened together. 

Play-house, Store, or Cabin. The design shown in Fig. 
376 can be carried out in the manner already described. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 

House-Building for Beginners 253 

Saw, Plane, Nailing, Screws, Painting, in Part V., and look up 
any other references. 

The ground dimensions can be 6' or 7' x 8' or 9'. In making 
the ends where they are cut off at the top to give the slant 
for the roof, inside cleats should be used. Mark lines, using 

FIG. 376. 

a straight-edge, for the slant for both sides of the roof, and 
saw the boards off by these lines. It will be convenient and 
will look well to make the angle at the top a right angle. At 
the top saw out a notch in which to rest the ridge-pole, as shown 
in Fig. 377. 

After the sides and ends are fastened together, nail the ridge- 
pole in place and get out short boards for the roof. Cut these 
for one side of the roof so as to be about 2" longer than the slant 
of the end of the house, and make those for the other side of the 
roof as much longer as the thickness of the boards, so that they 

254 Wood-Working for Beginners 

will lap over at the top, as shown in Fig. 377. Nail them on, 
beginning at one end, so that the roof will overlap the ends and 
sides 2" all around. 

Nailing upright strips at the corners, as is commonly done on 
wooden houses, and as is shown in the picture, will give the house 

FIG. 377. 

a more finished appearance. The other details are similar to 
those already shown. 

This house can have a floor, which can be made of 2" x 4" 
studding simply nailed together and floored over (Fig. 378), 
forming a sort of platform to which the sides and ends can be 
nailed when the house is put together; and the best way to make 
the whole structure is that shown in Fig. 377, the boards running 
vertically and cleats horizontally. In case of using a platform 
floor with this last method of construction, the lower cleats can 
be raised from the bottom so as to rest on the floor, as shown in 
Fig. 378. This makes the putting together of the house quite 

House-Building for Beginners 255 

simple, as the fitting of the sides and ends and floor in their 
proper places obviates the need of testing with square or measur- 

FIG. 379. 

ing diagonals. The lower cleats on the sides and ends are not 
really necessary, however, except for convenience in putting 

256 Wood-Working for Beginners 

together and taking apart, as the vertical sheathing can be nailed 
directly to the floor-frame or sills, as shown in Fig. 377. 

FIG. 380. 

FIG. 381. 

The whole can then be levelled (see Level and Plumb), being 
blocked up underneath as may be required. 

House-Building for Beginners 257 

The design is also suitable for a larger structure, in which case 
a frame should be made as shown in Fig. 389. 

Another very similar design is shown in Fig. 379, and can 
be put together according to the principles already shown. 

FIG. 382. 

The boarding runs vertically and the cleats horizontally, as 
shown in Fig. 377. 

Figs. 380 and 381 show other simple arrangements, the 
ground dimensions of which can be, perhaps, 8' x 12', and 
which can be put together in the same way as the preceding 
cases, with or without a floor, and with the boarding running 
vertically or horizontally. 

If a stove is to be used, the smoke-pipe can be arranged to pass 
through the side of the house, as in Figs. 382, 383, etc. If to 
pass through the roof, it should be soldered or riveted to a sheet 
of metal, as galvanized iron, the upper edge of the latter being 

258 Wood- Working for Beginners 

slipped under the roof covering while the lower edge laps over it 
(Fig. 384), on just the same principle that shingles are laid, the 

FIG. 383. 

idea being, of course, that the water will run down over the metal 
without leaking through, just as it runs down over the shingles. 
This simple principle must always be observed whenever metal is 
used to prevent joints leaking. With such small houses as these 
it is usually easier and safer about leakage to have the pipe run 
through the side of the house. If to go 

through the roof (par- 
ticularly when there is 

no special roof covering 

but boards), it is a good 

plan to have the pipe 

pass through the roof 

near the ridge, so that 

the upper edges of the 
FIG. 384. metal sheet can be slip- FIG. 385. 

ped under one of the saddle-boards (Fig. 385). In any case, an 
air space must be allowed between the smoke-pipe and the wood, 

House-Building for Beginners 259 

and it is always well to have a collar an inch or two outside of 
the pipe. Any tinsmith or metal-worker can arrange these details. 

Round drain-pipe set in cement is often used for a cheap pipe 
or chimney, and answers the purpose very well. 

Fig. 383 also shows the way to lay sheathing- or roofing-paper 
in case you wish to use it for a temporary structure. It also 
gives a suggestion for a window-shutter to be raised by a cord 
passing through to the inside, where it can be fastened to a cleat. 

A Workshop. A small building, like that shown in Fig. 
386, from 8' to 12' wide by 12' to 18' long, will be suitable 
for a workshop or for various other purposes. 

FIG. 386. 

While it will do for a little play-house without a floor, like 
those described at first, to rest directly upon the ground, a 
better structure like this should have some sort of under- 

It is not customary to lay a stone or brick and cement founda- 
tion for such a structure as this, because the building is not usually 
worth it. It can very well be rested upon stones at the corners 
and middle of the sides or upon posts set in the ground. If the 

260 Wood-Working for Beginners 

soil is sandy and large stones abundant, it can be rested upon 
piers of stones. So far as supporting the building for one season 
is concerned, simply resting it upon stones laid on top of the 
ground is sufficient, but the action of the frost will move the 
stones and heave the building more or less out of place, which 
will require it to be occasionally levelled and blocked up. A 
hole can be dug to a depth of about three feet, so as to be below 
the action of the frost, and a pier of flat stones built up. If the 
soil is of clear, well-packed sand, a pier of this sort will last for 
some time before being thrown out of shape by the frost, al- 
though, of course, if laid in cement (or if bricks laid in cement 
are used), it will be much more permanent. If the soil is clayey, 
the foundation, of whatever kind, should be carried to a depth of 
three feet or more and cemented, and even then it will be liable 
to be heaved by the action of the frost. This involves consider- 
able labour and perhaps expense, and for such a small building 
it will usually be better to rest it upon flat stones laid on the sur- 
face, or to block it up in some way so as to be clear of the ground, 
and then level it whenever necessary, which is not difficult with so 
small a structure. 1 

While brick piers built upon a foundation of stone laid in 
cement and carried to a depth of three feet or more is 
doubtless the best underpinning you can have (next to a 
regular foundation wall), it is not always advisable to incur 
the necessary expense and labour, and a common and 
usually satisfactory way for a building of this sort is to 
rest it upon posts set in the ground. But before placing 
the posts the exact position of the building must be deter- 

Having fixed upon the position of the building, proceed to 

1 If you have only small stones or blocks upon which to rest it, the building 
can be put together directly upon the ground, the sills being rested tempor- 
arily upon any material at hand, and then the supports adjusted underneath. 

House-Building for Beginners 261 

stake it out. First measure off with the tape, or rod, or even a 
string, the length of one of the sides of the building, and drive a 
stake at each end of the line. Stretch a line between these stakes 
and measure off the length of the end of the building from each 
stake, as nearly as possible at right angles with the first line. 
You can do this appioximately with the help of a " mason's 
square," or large triangle, which you can make yourself of thin 
strips of wood nailed together in the form of a right-angled 
triangle with sides 6', 8', and 10' long, or the sides can be 3', 
4', and 5' long. 1 Whatever method you use, be sure that the 
figure is rectangular, and move one or two of the stakes, if neces- 
sary, until the diagonals are of equal length. 

If the ground is uneven, keep the tape horizontal when 

1 You can mark a point on one string 3' from one stake and a point on the 
other string 4' from the same stake, and then increase or decrease the angle 
made by the two strings until another string exactly 5' long will just reach from 
the marked point on one string ^ K. xl B 

to that on the other. This pro- *"' x / I 

cess is based on the principle of ; '^ s* 

mathematics that if the two *v.. s 

sides of a right-angled triangle 
are respectively 3 units and 4 
units in length, the length of 

the hypothenuse will be 5 units. ^.' '*+., 

Another way, if you are fond /-. 

of mathematics, is to find the p o 

length of the diagonals of the 
plan of the house by extracting the square root of the sum of the squares of 
the two sides. (The square described on the hypothenuse of a right-angled 
triangle is equal to the sum of the squares described on the other two sides.) 
You can measure the diagonal directly from a plan if you understand mechan- 
ical drawing well enough to make an accurate plan on a scale of perhaps \" or 
i" to a foot. Then take one tape, or string, measuring the width of the build- 
ing, with one end held on the stake C (Fig. 387), and another tape measuring 
the length of the diagonal, with the end held on the stake D. Drive the stake 
A at the point where the two tapes meet when brought together. Reversing the 
positions of the tapes will give in the same way the fourth corner B. The dis- 
tance A B should equal C D, 

each of these 
points. You can 

262 Wood- Working for Beginners 

measuring, and to determine the points required drop a plurnb- 
line from the end of the tape which is raised from the ground. 

Having in this way accurately fixed upon the lines for the four 
sides of the house, continue these lines a few feet (perhaps 4 or 5 
feet) beyond the corners to the points marked E (Fig. 388), and 

v* drive a stake at 


easily get these 
eight stakes in 
line by sighting 
from the four 
first driven. Next 
drive in one of 
,4-jC Dx-fx these outside 

E -(-!") t"f~V & stakes (the one 

"~j where the ground 

E E is the highest in 

FIG. 388. 

case the surface 

is uneven) until it sticks out of the ground a few inches, and 
then drive the other seven until their tops are level with the top 
of the first. This you can determine by applying the level to a 
line stretched taut from the top of one post to the top of another. 
Drive a nail into the top of each stake to hold the string, or cut 
a notch for the same purpose. Now if strings are tightly stretched 
between these stakes, they will intersect over the four stakes first 
driven at the corners of the house. These four stakes you can 
now remove when you dig the holes for the posts, and the exact 
position of each post and its height above the surface will be 
determined by the intersection of the strings from the outside 
stakes. The strings can be taken off while you are digging and 
replaced when you are getting the posts in position. 

Next dig a hole at one corner, about 18* in diameter and about 
2 i' r 3' in depth. In this hole set a post about 6" in diameter, 
sawed off squarely at the upper end, and of such a length that 

House-Building for Beginners 263 

when pounded down to a firm and upright bearing the top of it 
will reach the string stretched between the levelling stakes. 
When you fill up the hole put in only a little earth at a time, 
" tamping " each layer compactly around the post with an iron 
bar or stick before adding more earth. Contrary to what one 
might naturally think, the earth can be tamped more compactly 
with a bar or stick than with a heavy joist. 

Set another post in the same way at the next corner, fixing it 
accurately in position by means of the strings, as in the case of 
the first post, and seeing that the distance from the outside of 
this post to the outside of the first one is that required by the 

Set the other corner-posts in the same way, testing all the dis- 
tances (including the diagonals) as before. You can try the 
height of each post now and then as you dig, and thus avoid 
making too deep a hole. 

If you prefer, you can set all the posts in the right positions at 
first, but without trying to level the tops, merely seeing that the 
tops all stick up above the line. You can then strike a horizontal 
line all around with a cord, and saw all the posts off by this line 
a process which you very likely have seen when watching the 
work on a pile-bridge or wharf. Sawing off the posts squarely 
will be much easier, however, before they are set in the ground. 

The posts may be of locust, cedar, cypress, or chestnut. 
Locust is considered very durable, but is the most expens- 
ive. Cedar is excellent, and will be perfectly satisfactory. 
Chestnut will do very well for a house of this sort, and is 
comparatively cheap. If you do not mind the slight in- 
crease in cost, cedar is better. If you wish to be as eco- 
nomical as possible, chestnut will answer. 1 

1 The part of the post which is embedded in the ground is sometimes charred 
or painted to preserve it from decay. This can be easily done, but the process 
js advisable only with thoroughly seasoned wood. It is highly injurious (o 

264 Wood-Working for Beginners 

The reason for selecting wood of greater natural durability 
for the posts than for the rest of the house is to withstand 
the greater exposure of the posts to alternate moisture and 
dryness. Timber will last for centuries if placed in a shel- 
tered position and exposed to a free circulation of air. It 
will also last for a long period when immersed in fresh water 
or sunk underground, so as to be beyond the influence of 
atmospheric changes. But the alternate exposure to dry- 
ness and moisture, as in the case of posts partly above and 
partly below ground, or piles for a wharf or bridge, causes 
decay in a comparatively short time (see Appendix). 

If your site is too rocky for posts, you will be saved some 
digging, but must provide a level and stable foundation in 
some other way. It rarely happens that the surface will be 
quite level, and you must use stone or timbers for under- 
pinning. If there are one or two corners that must be 
raised, owing to inequality of the surface, and you cannot 
find large stones that will be sure to stay in place, you can 
rest the raised parts of the house upon posts securely braced. 
Rock is not the most desirable foundation for a building with 
a regular underpinning and cellar the biblical parable to the 
contrary notwithstanding and there is no foundation su- 
perior to sand or gravel (only the sand or gravel must be 
confined and not free to slide or move). But as your house 
merely rests on the surface, and has no cellar to be dug or 
drained, there is no disadvantage in putting it on a rock, 
provided you support it properly. Do not rest one end of 
it on a pile of loose cobble-stones, five feet high, only to 
have the stones slip some wet, stormy night and let the 
building down. 

green timber, as by closing the pores and obstructing evaporation from the 
surface it prevents the seasoning of the wood and causes fermentation and 
decay within (see Appendix). 

House-Building for Beginners 265 

Having the foundation set, the next thing is the frame, 
which for a small building of this kind can be made of 
almost any kind of wood which you can readily obtain, 
provided, of course, that it is dry enough and not weakened 
by large knots or other defects. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 

FIG. 389. 

Saw, Plane, Nailing, Screws, Painting, in Part V., and look up 
any other references. 

The sills, or the lower timbers of the frame which rest upon 
the foundation, should be got out first, and can be of 4" x 4" 
stock, and halved at the ends (see Halving} (Fig. 389). Upon 
these sills is to be set up a 4" x 4" post of the desired length at 
each corner. 1 

1 These posts, and even the sills, can be built up if necessary of 2" x 4" stud- 
ding, two pieces being placed side by side and nailed together, but this is not 

266 Wood-Working for Beginners 

On top of these are placed the plates, which can be of 2" x 4" 
studding laid flat and halved at the ends. Be sure to get out 
these pieces before beginning to put them together. Toe-nail 
the posts to the sills and nail the plates directly down on top of 
the posts, keeping the latter in a vertical position by temporarily 
nailing on strips of board diagonally, adjusting these until the posts 
are vertical and at right angles to the sills (see Plumb and Square}. 

Next put in vertical studding (2" x 4") at each side of the door- 
space, and at the sides of the window-spaces, allowing a little more 
space than the exact widths of the door and window- frames. In 
the same way horizontal studding should be fitted in above the 
door-space and above and below the window-spaces, and in any 
places where it will be a help in stiffening the frame or for nailing 
on the boarding. Another way is to first fit in pieces of joist 
horizontally, either midway between the sills and plates (except 
at the window- and door-spaces), or running the entire length 
above and below the windows. Just where and how many of 
these pieces are to be put in depends upon the arrangement of the 
doors and windows, and pieces of vertical studding can be fitted 
in at each side of the door- and window-spaces and wherever ad- 
visable. Short braces, with their ends sawed at an angle of 45, 
can also be fitted at the corners, where the corner-posts meet the 
sills and plates, and be nailed in place to help stiffen the frame. 

It will be a convenience in working to lay the floor next. For 
this you will require a number of floor-joists. If the building is 
only 8' or 10' wide, 2" x 4" studding will do; but if the width is 
as great as 12', 2" x 6" will be better. These are to be placed on 
edge on top of the sills, as shown. Place one at each end against 
the corner-posts (to which it can be nailed), sawing off each end 
so that it will be flush with the outside of the sill. Distribute 
these floor-joists so that they will be about 18" apart, and hold 
them in position by " toeing " a nail through them at each end 

so desirable as regards strength, its only advantage consisting in the readiness 
with which the joints can be made by simply cutting one of the two pieces 
shorter than the other, 

House-Building for Beginners 267 

into the sill beneath, or nailing them to the studding when 
practicable. Before laying any of these floor-joists trim them off 
on the under edge, which will rest upon the sills, if necessary to 
ensure a level surface on top for the floor. Do not neglect this, 
as such joists frequently vary in width. Now measure the 
diagonals again, before laying the floor-boards, to be sure that 
the base of the house is rectangular. If one diagonal is longer 
than the other, push those corners towards each other until the 
diagonals are of equal length. 

Next lay the floor-boards, lengthways of the building, driving 
them together tightly by pounding on a waste piece, and nailing 
them firmly to each floor-joist with two nails. If your floor-boards 
are not long enough to reach the entire length of the house, you 
will take pains, of course, to saw them of such a length that the 
ends of the boards will meet over the middle of one of the floor- 
joists, arranging the joints so that they will alternate or come at 
different points of the floor. Saw off neatly all projecting ends 
of the floor-boards. 

You will frequently wish to use more force in driving the floor- 
boards to a tight joint 
at the edges than you 
can easily apply with 
the hammer. You can 
easily apply all the 
pressure required by 
using two short boards 
on the principle of the 
toggle-joint. Arrange x 

these as shown in Fig. * 

390, one end resting 

against a temporary cleat or any firm object and the other against 
the edge of the floor-board. By stepping upon this toggle-joint 
at its apex, the floor-board will be forced into place. A com- 
mon way is to pry the board into place with a chisel driven down 
at the edge. 

268 Wood- Working for Beginners 

If the building is to be used in cold weather, by all means lay 
double flooring. The under floor can be of cheaper stock and 
laid less carefully. Between the two lay sheathing- or roofing- 
paper, and you will have accomplished much towards keeping the 
room warm. 

The frame is now ready for the roof-timbers. These can be of 
2" x 4" studding, except the ridge-board, which can be any com- 
mon board about 6" wide. 

To obtain the length of the rafters and the angle at which the 
ends are to be cut, you can easily make a full-sized pattern on the 
floor by simply laying off a right-angled triangle of the required 
height and base, which will give the length of the rafters and the 
angle at each end, after cutting off a little piece at the upper end 
to represent one half the thickness of the ridge-board; or two 
pieces of the rafter stock can simply be laid on the floor in the 
right relative positions for the roof, when their points of crossing 
can be marked on each edge and the bevel marked on the sides 
of the pieces. The bevel at the lower end can be found in a 
similar manner. Take off enough at the upper end to allow for 
one half the thickness of the ridge-board, and saw off one rafter 
as marked. This will serve for a pattern by which to mark the 
others. The end rafters and the ridge-board (which should first 
be sawed the length of the house) can easily be nailed in position 
by two persons, one at each end, being temporarily stayed in 
place by a board nailed outside (Fig. 389). 

The roof-boards can be nailed either lengthways, or up and 
down. If the former way, the rafters must be put quite near 
together to give sufficient support to the boards. If the latter, 
purlins, or lengthways stringers, should be added between the 
ridge-board and the side-plates, as shown. If the roof is to be 
shingled, the boards can as well be laid lengthways otherwise 
they should be laid up and down. If not to be covered in any 
way, matched-boards (or battened joints) should be used. If 
well painted, such a roof will last for some time, but shingling is 
much better. 

House-Building for Beginners 269 

Saddle-boards should be put along the ridge, as they add much 
to the tightness and durability of the roof. 

The sides require to be sheathed before covering the roof, 
leaving open spaces for the door and windows. Shorter pieces 
can be used above and below these spaces. The boarding can 
be put on vertically and battens (narrow boards 2" or 3" wide, or 
strips of " half-round " moulding) nailed over the cracks, as 
shown in Fig. 391, or, of course, the sides can be clapboarded or 
shingled if preferred, in which case the boarding can be put on 

The door can be made of boards, cleated, as already shown, 
or one can be bought ready-made. A casing should be nailed 
around the door-space, previously putting at the bottom a 
threshold upon which the lower ends of the casing can fit. This 
you will at once understand by examining the arrangement of 
these details in almost any dwelling-house. The arrangement of 
the windows (which you can buy ready-made of almost any de- 
sired shape and size) does not differ from the cases already 

The smoke-pipe can be arranged as shown on page 258. 

A few floor-beams put across on top of the plates and wholly 
or partly floored over will provide a loft useful for storage. If the 
building is for a shop, this will be a good place to keep lumber. 

The roof can be covered according to the methods already 
shown, but shingling will be much better. If a building is worth 
shingling at all, it is usually best to use a good quality of shingles. 
The cheapest ones are apt to be unsatisfactory for a permanent 
building, but, on the other hand, for such structures as these it 
is not necessary to get an extra quality, for some knots or defects 
at the thin ends where they will be covered by two or three layers 
may do no harm. Cedar shingles are better than spruce. 

It is a good plan to lay roofing-paper over the roof before 
shingling. Begin the shingling at the eaves and work upward. 
Lay a row the length of the roof, letting the butts slightly over- 
hang the edge. Directly on top of this row lay another, breaking 

270 Wood- Working for Beginners 

joints with those underneath; that is, lay the first row double, 
taking pains that the spaces between the shingles of the lower 
layer are covered by the shingles of the upper layer. Leave a 
slight space (perhaps $" to I") between the shingles in laying 
them. This gives room for swelling, and allows the water to run 
off freely. If 'the edges are close together at the lower end, the 
tendency is to dam up these water-courses and retain the moist- 
ure, which is injurious. Some people pare off the edges to make 
the butt-ends narrower, in order to obviate this; but simply lay- 
ing the shingles slightly apart answers the purpose. Fasten each 
shingle with two shingle nails (one near each edge, within per- 
haps i"), far enough up from the butt to be covered by the next 
row of shingles. Common shingles can be laid about 4^" to the 
weather, that is, with that portion of the length exposed at the 
butt. If shingles of extra length are used this distance can be 
varied accordingly. Lay the butts of each row by a chalk-line 
or against the edge of a narrow board, which can be adjusted 
and temporarily held in place by two strips nailed to the board 
and to the ridge of the roof. The upper ends of the top row of 
shingles can be trimmed off and saddle-boards can be put on at 
the top, letting the edge of one overlap the other. 

It is doubtful economy to paint shingles after they are laid. 
The paint tends to clog the spaces between them. It is better 
to dip them in paint before laying. A much better way is to dip 
them in some one of the prepared " creosote stains," which can 
be had in a great variety of colours. These are excellent, al- 
though, except to obtain some desired colour effect, it is hardly 
worth while to use any preparation on the roofs of such buildings 
as these. Cut nails are considered better than wire nails for 
shingling, on the ground of durability. Take pains to keep the 
lines of the rows straight and at equal distances apart. 

For the painting, see Painting, in Part V. 

If this building is for a workshop, various suggestions about the 
interior arrangement will be found in Part I. 

'' The cottage Is one of the embellishments of natural scenery which deserves attentive C6n- 
sideration. It is beautiful always, and everywhere ; whether looking out of the woody dingle 
with its eye-like window, and sending up the motion of azure smoke between the silver trunks 
of aged trees ; or grouped among the bright cornfields of the fruitful plain ; or forming grey 
clusters along the slope of the mountain side, the cottage always gives the idea of a thing to be 
beloved: a quiet life-giving voice, that is as peaceful as silence itself." RUSKIN, The Poetry 
of A rchitecture. 



" Cottage Row." The little houses shown in the accom- 
panying illustrations' afford excellent examples of what can 
be done by the beginner. These were built by boys, and 
form, with others, a most interesting little village or street, 
known as ' ' Cottage Row. ' ' They are small, but have many 
of the details of larger houses. They are shingled and clap- 
boarded, have regular doors and windows, and are very at- 
tractively fitted up inside with curtains, cupboards, shelves, 
tables, chairs, lounges, bookcases, and other articles of 
furniture. The walls are hung or covered with prettily 
figured cretonne or calico. 

These little structures are good models for boys' first 
attempts at house-building, in that they are simple, modest, 
and unpretentious, and have a homelike air which does not 
pertain to many more elaborate and pretentious houses. 
The visitor is attracted by their neat, trim, inviting appear- 
ance, and wishes to enter. 

Houses of this character can easily be made by two or 
more boys working together; and by the united forces of a 
number of boys a very attractive little village can be built 
(and much simple carpentry be learned at the same time), 
in which many pleasant hours can be spent. 

Such houses as these can be framed and put together 

1 Obtained through the courtesy of Mr. Charles H. Bradley, Superintendent 
of the admirable Farm School on Thompson's Island, in Boston Harbour, 
where this little village was built. 


272 Wood- Working for Beginners 

without difficulty by the methods already shown. It will 
not add very much to the expense to have the parts of the 
frame which show on the inside of the house planed by 
machine, and this will much improve the appearance of the 
interior. Shingling the roofs, putting casing around the 
windows and doors and at the corners of the houses, and 
clapboarding or shingling the sides, adds much to the at- 

tractiveness of such small structures, as you can see from 
the illustrations. 

The windows and casings you can buy ready-made, or the 
latter you can make yourself. The doors and casings you 
can also buy, or make. The door-casings and window- 
casings should be nailed in place before the sides are clap- 
boarded. The tops of these casings should always be 
protected by strips of sheet lead, the upper edges of which 

Simple Summer Cottages 


are slipped up under the clapboarding (Fig. 39oa), thus 
covering the crack where the casing joins the side of the 
building and shedding the water on the same principle as 
shown in Figs. 384 and 385. This is important, as the rain 
will drive through such cracks, even though 
they seem very tight. Tonguing and grooving 
can be used in such cases, but flashing with 
lead is a simpler process. The same precau- 
tion should always be taken where roofs or 
attachments join a building in such a way as 
to expose a crack through which the water 
can leak. Zinc, or even tin, can be used, 
but are inferior to lead. The corner-boards 
and the water-table (the horizontal board at 
the bottom of the house) should also be 
nailed in place. The latter should have the 
top edge slightly bevelled, to shed the water. 
All these pieces having been carefully nailed 
in place, the clapboarding or shingling of the 
sides can be done. 

It will cost but little to sheath the outside with sheathing- 
paper, and the house will be much tighter and dryer. This 
should be put on under the casings, corner-boards, etc., so 
as to avoid a crack where these boards and the clapboards 
or shingles meet. 

Laying clapboards, unlike shingling, is begun at the top. Lay 
the upper row by a line, as in shingling, keeping the clapboards 
in place by a few nails in the upper part only. Then slip the 
clapboards for the next row up from underneath under the first 
row until only the desired amount of the clapboards is exposed. 
The first row can then be firmly nailed near the lower edge with 
clapboard nails. This will hold the next row in position while 
the third row is put in place, and so on. The thin edge of 

3 9 oa. 

274 Wood- Working for Beginners 

the upper row can be finally covered with a strip of board or 
moulding. The clapboarding can be continued to the very 
bottom of the house. If, however, a water-table is used at the 
bottom, the lower edge of the bottom row of clapboards should 
be slightly bevelled to fit closely down on the slanting upper edge 
of the water-table. Be careful to lay the clapboards in line and 
at equal distances apart, as variations in the alignment are quite 

noticeable. Examine the clapboards of any house on which 
they are used. In arranging them break joints at the ends, that 
is, do not have the joints of one row directly under, or very near, 
those of the rows above and below. Do not saw the ends by 
eye. Mark them accurately with the try-square and knife and 
saw them carefully with a fine saw, trying to make as close joints 
as possible. 

A fair quality of clapboards should be used, but a few defects 
near the thin edges which are to be covered may do no serious 
harm for such structures as these. 

Simple Summer Cottages 


When you begin to attempt more ambitious structures, 
such as modest summer cottages for camping in vacations, 
for hunting- or fishing-lodges, or for family use, such 
houses as are often undertaken by older boys or men with 
a taste for amateur carpentry, there are a number of things 
to be considered before beginning to do any actual work. 

Do not begin a house you cannot pay for. If you find 

that the more elaborate plans suggested will exceed your 
means, do not let them tempt you to run in debt, but con- 
tent yourself with the simplest plan. 1 You will find it per- 
fectly comfortable, and whenever you can afford the expense 
you can easily add to it and improve it. That is the best 
principle to go on, morally as well as financially. 

1 If that is too expensive, some of those given in the preceding pages will 
probably answer your purpose. 

276 Wood-Working for Beginners 

In addition to points already spoken of in the preceding 
pages, bear in mind, in making your plans, to use only 
simple forms for your first efforts. Avoid dormer windows 
and complicated roofs (especially combinations producing 
" valleys") and bay-windows, and the like, at first. Such 
arrangements add many difficulties for the beginner. When 
you can make a plain, simple building, with everything snug 

and tight, and can lay a plain roof that will not leak, you 
can then attempt such variations of form with a fair chance 
of success, but do not be too ambitious in your first at- 
tempts. A simple piazza can often be added to good 
advantage, if desired. 

It is well to ascertain the sizes of the ready-made doors 
and windows which you can buy in the place where your 
house is to be built, before drawing your plans. 

If there is a choice of situations in which to place your 

Simple Summer Cottages 277 

house, a few suggestions about the selection of a site may 
be of value. 

If you are going to build in the mountains, or the pine woods, 
or on rocky islands or promontories in the ocean, in places 
where there are almost no unsanitary conditions, where the 
climate is so invigourating, the air so purifying, there is no need 
to think of many precautions important in a cleared and settled 
country. As much sunlight and circulation of air as you can 
get, pure drinking water, and the simple precaution of not build- 
ing in a hollow or on the edge of a swamp, are about all the sani- 
tary points you need consider in such places. 

In selecting a site in any ordinary country or seashore region, 
first make sure above all things of dryness, sunlight, pure air, and 
pure water. 

Avoid building a cottage for regular occupancy in a dense 
thicket, not merely on account of the mosquitoes and other in- 
sects, but because the thicket shuts out the sun and cuts off the 
free circulation of air which there should always be in summer 
around and through a house. Of course, for shooting or fishing, 
a lodge, camp, or cabin must be built wherever required by the 
circumstances. Sunshine is very important in securing dryness 
and in purifying the air. 

You will naturally reject wet land. Avoid also soil that retains 
moisture, 1 even though it may not be actually wet to step upon, 
for land saturated with moisture may be the unsuspected source 
of serious diseases. There is air in the ground, which may be the 
means of spreading dampness and foul gases. 

Do not place your house in a depression or in the bottom of a 
valley where dampness is likely to settle. At the seashore there 
will, of course, be fogs from the ocean at certain times and places, 

1 " Soils which are naturally porous, from which rain rapidly disappears, are 
known to be the healthiest for the sites of houses. In this the action of the 
soil oxidizes all organic impurities, the resulting product is washed away by the 
rain, and the soil remains sweet and wholesome." LATHAM, 

278 Wood- Working for Beginners 

but they are not harmful, except to navigation; and at the mount- 
ains more or less dampness at night is very common. Do not 
try to find a place where there is no dampness at all, but except 
at the seashore or mountains reject situations where there are 
mists at night, avoiding particularly the vicinity of wet marshes 
and swamps, stagnant pools of fresh water, boggy ponds, sluggish 
rivers and brooks, on account of the malarious vapours which are 
liable to hang over them. 

Do not try to keep cool by hiding your house where the sun 
will not shine upon it. The southern or south-eastern slope of a 
hill usually affords a most desirable site as regards both coolness 
and sunlight. If you can also find a site on the top of a little 
mound or knoll, so as to secure the free drainage of the water in 
every direction, it will be advantageous. 

The main points in regard to water are to have it pure and to 
have plenty of it. 

In regard to pure water, and pure air also, if you are planning 
to build in a little settlement or near other cottages the question 
of drainage (sewerage) from the neighbouring houses becomes of 
the utmost importance. A breeze from the sea, the mountains, 
or the pine woods is pure in itself and to a certain degree a 
scavenger, but do not throw upon it the work of purifying a 
naturally unhealthful situation. 

This matter of drainage you can arrange for yourself on your 
own land, but the arrangements of your neighbours you will have 
to take as you find them; therefore guard carefully against con- 
tamination of your drinking water and of the air through proximity 
to the cesspools, privies, or sink drains of the neighbouring cot- 
tages. Exactly how far a well or spring should be from such 
sources of pollution it is impossible to state without knowledge 
of the particular spot, for it depends upon the slope of the 
ground, the kind of soil, the direction of the underlying strata, 
and other circumstances. In some cases a distance of twenty 
feet might be perfectly safe, while in others two hundred would 
be highly dangerous. One hundred feet or more is near enough 

Simple Summer Cottages 279 

under ordinary conditions. There is no greater danger than that 
from defective sewerage, and the danger usually begins before the 
senses are aware that there is any trouble. This subject is better 
understood now than formerly, but still, until the subject forces 
itself upon their attention, the majority of people pay but little 
regard to it. It is a fact well established among medical men 
that some of the worst forms of sickness are nothing but filth 
diseases, to which the dwellers in summer cottages are sometimes 
even more exposed than those in town houses. Remember that 
air as well as water is an active agent for spreading the germs of 

As to the position in which to place the house itself after the 
spot has been chosen much will depend on circumstances. Con- 
sider the sun, the prevailing winds, and the views in relation to 
the rooms, the windows, and the piazza.. An unsheltered piazza. 
facing the west is apt to be very hot at the time of day you are 
likely to use it the most, though, of course, the wind or other 
considerations may make such a position desirable. 

The subject of the necessary underpinning for such simple 
structures as are here shown has been already treated in the 
preceding chapter. In most cases you will find posts set in 
the ground, as there described, an excellent way (except, 
of course, upon rocky ground), but brick or stone piers are 
almost always more desirable, if you can afford the cost of 
the materials (which can be obtained almost anywhere), and 
the work of laying piers for such a purpose is not very diffi- 
cult; but whether to use posts or piers should, of course, 
depend upon. the character and permanence of the building. 

Having fixed upon the position of the building, proceed 
to stake it out (including the piazza, if there is to be one), 
as shown in the chapter immediately preceding. 

The foundation being ready, the frame is next to be 
considered. You have probably noticed in the old houses 

280 Wood- Working for Beginners 

built by our forefathers their massive construction, the 
great size of the timbers and the way in which they are 
heavily braced and mortised and pinned together. With 
the modern facilities for cutting wood into small pieces by 
machinery has sprung up a style of building of which you 
will see examples on every hand, and which when carried to 
its extreme in the cheapest houses makes a structure so 
flimsy that it is literally held together by nothing but nails. 
A scientific modification (adapted to modern conditions) of 
the old-fashioned " braced " structure, retaining its ad- 
vantages and remedying its defects, is undoubtedly superior 
(expense being no object] to a " balloon " frame that will only 
hold together by having the outside boarding nailed on to 
it as fast as it is put up. If the more cheaply built " bal- 
loon " structures of to-day had been put up in the days of 
our Pilgrim or Puritan ancestors not a stick of them would 
now be standing. A lighter arrangement than the old- 
fashioned frame and one more easily built is, however, in 
our day probably better adapted for the construction of a 
large class of buildings of moderate size and moderate cost. 

This is said about braced and framed structures that you 
may not be led to think that the light construction advo- 
cated here for you would be the best for all wooden struct- 
ures. Your house will be so small, and the construction of 
a braced and mortised frame is so difficult for amateurs, that 
a lighter and easier arrangement will be best for you to use, 
however ill-suited it might be for a large mansion or ware- 
house. This system of construction will be perfectly satis- 
factory and sufficiently durable for a little summer cottage. 

A little house well suited for summer use, or for a winter 
camp, is shown in Fig. 391. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 

282 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Saw, Plane, Nailing, Screws, Hinges, Painting, in Part V., and 
look up any other references. 

The main house (which contains the general living-room) can 
be framed as shown in Fig. 389. The "lean-to" addition 
(which contains the kitchen) can be framed as shown in Fig. 
371. If both parts are built at one time, only four sills should be 
used for the entire structure, and the corner-posts and upright 
studding of the "lean-to" on the side next the main house 
should be omitted. 

The sides of this house are battened, /. e., the joints of the 
vertical sheathing are covered with strips nailed over them in 
this case with strips of " half-round " moulding. This is an easy 
and quite inexpensive way to finish the outside, and while hardly 
equal to clapboarding or shingling in some respects is a very good 
way for structures of this kind. 

As you will see from the illustration, the rafters of both the 
house and the ell project or overhang at the eaves. This is not 
really a necessity for any structure, and you will sometimes see 
quite large buildings without any overhang of the roof whatever, 
but, as a rule, it improves the appearance of the house, and is a 
help in shedding the water farther from the walls. It is only 
necessary to let the rafters project at their lower ends, making all 
project equally, and to nail a board to their ends, as shown. The 
overhang at the ends of the house can be arranged in the same 
way, short pieces of studding being nailed in the outside angle 
of the roof and ends, with strips nailed upon these. 

If the ground slopes, as in this case, lattice-work is good to 
cover the space below the sills. 

The remaining details have been treated in the preceding cases. 

The simple structure shown in Fig. 392 is suitable for 
various uses, and can be constructed in the way already 

The piazza is, however, a new problem, but not a very difficult 

Simple Summer Cottages 


one after the processes already described. A simple way, suited 
for rustic structures or rough cabins, is to set the piazza, posts in 
the ground to a depth of two or three feet, sawing the tops off at 
the height of the piazza, roof, and simply nailing a system of floor- 
timbers for the piazza floor to these posts and the side of the 
house and flooring it with boards, while the roof of the piazza is 

FIG. 392. 

supported on the tops of the posts. This is not a good way, 
however, for a carefully built house. 

A strip of joist or plank can be spiked to the side of the house 
at the proper height, and to this can be nailed a system of floor- 
timbers for the piazza floor (see page 287), the outer corners and 
middle resting upon stones or posts in the same way as the rest of 
the building. This is then floored crossways, the whole having a 
slight slant outwards to shed the water. Upon this platform are 
raised the piazza posts, and at the top of these is nailed a roof 
system, which is covered with boards in the same way as the 
floor beneath. Enough slant should be given the roof to enable 
it to shed the water freely. 

The other details do not differ from those already described. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking ^ Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Screws, Hinges, Painting, in Part V., and 
look up any other references. 

284 Wood- Working for Beginners 

An excellent form for a small structure is that shown in 
Fig. 393. This has a hip-roof, which is the only essential 
difference between it and the types already shown. 

FIG. 393. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Screws, Hinges, Painting, in Part V., and 
look up any other references. 

This roof is somewhat more difficult to make well than the 
simple kinds, but is not beyond the skill of the amateur. Up to 

the plates the construction is 
the same as that already 
shown. In this roof, however, 
the ridge-board is short and 
the end rafters (called hip- 
rafters) incline towards it 
( Fi g- 393 a )- . Laying out 
the upper bevels of these 

rafters will require careful 

. * 

planning. After you have 

succeeded in laying them out, cutting the bevels at the ends, 

Simple Summer Cottages 


and fitting them in place, the shorter jack-rafters can readily 
be put in place. 

FIG. 395. 

The shingling is more difficult at the corners than in the other 
roofs shown, as the shingles must be cut. It is well to cover each 
hip with a line of shingles, laid parallel to the hip and along each 

286 Wood-Working for Beginners 

side of it. Boards can be used to cover the hips, as shown in 
one of the illustrations of " Cottage Row." 

Another form, embodying the same roof construction, but 
larger and correspondingly more difficult, is shown in Fig. 394. 

A small cottage for summer use (Fig. 395) is not more 
difficult than the cases already shown, except in the matter 
of size. 


Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Screws, Hinges, Painting, in Part V., and 
look up any other references. 

Simple Summer Cottages 


The process of staking out and setting the foundation has been 
already described under A Workshop, pages 259-264. 

The frame can be built upon the same general principle as 
shown in Fig. 389, the dimensions of the stock depending upon 
the size of the house ; but the directions given in these chapters 
are intended only for small structures. The sills should be 
4" x 6" or 6" x 6", the corner-posts can be 4" x 4" or 4" x 6," the 
floor-timbers and rafters 2" x 6", although, if the house is quite 
small, 2" x 4" will do for the rafters, which can be braced by 
" collar beams," or simply horizontal pieces of board nailed 
across in the upper part of the roof. 

Arrange the studding according to the doors and windows. 
As this house is not to be lathed and plastered, it is not essential 
that the studding should be at any exact distance apart. 

The essential difference between the frame of this house and 
that shown in Fig. 389 consists in the projection of the second- 
story floor-timbers over the piazza, the ends resting upon an 
outer plate on top of the piazza posts (Fig. 396). The arrange- 
ment of the attic floor- 
beams, the rafters, and the 
side-plates is shown in Fig. 


The frame for the piazza 
floor can be arranged as 
follows: Fasten a strip of 
2* x 4" joist along the side, 
spiking it through into the 
sill. On this fasten an ar- 
rangement of floor-timbers, 
such as is shown in Fig. 

398, the inner cross-beam 

' FIG. 397. 

and lengthways stringers 

resting in gains, as shown in Fig. 399. The details of the ar- 
rangement can be varied according to the height you wish the 
piazza floor to be relatively to the floor inside. 

288 Wood- Working for Beginners 

For a quite small structure, or for a temporary one, it will an- 
swer to make this piazza-floor system of 2" x 6" stock simply sawed 

FIG. 398. 

square and spiked together, on the principle shown in Fig. 378, 
but for a good house which you wish to be permanent, it is better 

to put a little more labour 
into the piazza.. 

Another way is to have the 
main sills extend under the 
piazza as well as under 
the house proper. This is a 
more thorough way as re- 
gards stiffness, but extra 
pains must be taken to pie- 
vent the water working down 
on the sills where the house 
and piazza, join, as this will 
FIG. 399. tend to rot this portion of the 

sills. With this arrangement of sills an extra sill, or cross-sill, 

Simple Summer Cottages 289 

should be added under the juncture of the body of the house and 
the piazza,. The ends of this sill can rest in gains cut in the end- 
sills, and the middle can be supported by one or more posts. 

For the stairs, which can be put wherever you wish, take two 
pieces of plank, 2" x 9" or 10", and of sufficient length. Having 
determined the points for the top and the bottom of the stairs (by 
laying off on the floor in the same way as for the rafters, page 
268), lay one of the planks on the floor in the proper position and 
mark the notches for the steps and the bevels for the ends. 
After these " notch-boards " or string pieces have been cut and 
put in place, you can easily get out and nail on the " risers" 
and " treads." Examination of any common stairs will show 
you how to arrange these details without difficulty. You can 
mark on a stick the height from the top of the lower floor to the 
top of the upper. Divide this distance, on the stick, into as 
many parts as you wish to have steps, and you can use the stick 
as a gauge by which to determine the points for sawing the 
notches for the steps. 1 It is best to have the treads not less 
than 9" wide, and 10" is better, while 7^" or 8" will do for the 
risers. A "header," or cross-piece, must be securely fastened 
between the second-story floor-beams where they are cut off to 
make the opening at the head of the stairs. 

The partitions inside require no directions, being simply made 
of studding to which sheathing is nailed. 

The remaining details do not differ from those of the preceding 
cases, and the interior fittings you can arrange without further 
instructions. A regular brick chimney will, of course, be a desir- 
able feature if you can afford it. 

By the slight modification of having the roof overhang on 

1 To find the number of steps for a given situation, find the height, as just 
shown, from floor to floor, 102" for example. Assume, for trial, a satisfactory 
height for each step, as 7". Divide 102 by 7, which gives 14^ for the number 
of steps. To make the number even, call it 14, and you have only to divide 
102 by 14 to get the exact height of each step. 

290 Wood-Working for Beginners 

each side, two piazzas will be provided and space given for 
larger chambers (Fig. 40x3). 

The construction differs from that of the design just shown only 
in the arrangement of the framing for the second story. 

FIG. 400. 

The floor-beams of the second story will overlap at each end 
and the rafters be correspondingly longer, and the end-plates can 
be omitted and the end-studding continued up to the rafters, ex- 
cept where interrupted by the window-spaces. This house, like 
the others, can be clapboarded, shingled, battened, or sheathed, 
as you may prefer. 



Summer-houses. A form which is quite easy to build, 
and which is attractive when overrun with vines, is shown 
in front elevation (Fig. 401) and in side elevation (Fig. 402). 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Painting, in Part V., and look up any 
other references. 

The construction is simple. The frame can be of 2" x 3* stock 
(planed), except the sills, which had best not be smaller than 
2" x 4" (on edge). Cross floor-beams can be inserted, as in the 
floors of the little houses first shown. 

The upright members can, however, rest upon posts set in the 
ground and the floor be dispensed 
with. Where the parts of the 
frame cross they can be halved 
(see Halving}. The square joints ' 
can be nailed together. The 
roof can be solid or made of 
slats several inches apart, resting 
upon rafters. 

The strips for the lattice-work 
can be about f" thick, and from 
J" to i" wide. These can be got 
out at any mill in long or short 
strips, which you can cut off as 
you put them on. Do not lay 

FIG. 401. 

them too closely together. Put one strip on at the desired angle. 
Then cut off one or more short pieces by which to gauge the 


292 Wood-Working for Beginners 

distance for laying the next strip, or get out a piece of light thin 
boarding of the width of the space between the lattice strips and 
hold it beside each strip as a guide by which to lay the next one. 

This lattice-work, although each strip is so slight, will give the 
frame great stiffness and strength. 

The joints of such framework as this should properly be painted 
before being put together (see Painting), and it also is a more 
thorough and neater way to lay the lattice-work strips on supports 

FIG. 402. 

of some kind and paint them before putting on. They will then 
only require touching up with paint after the house is done. 

The rustic summer-house, or arbour, made of sticks in 
their natural form, shown in Fig. 403, is in some respects 
more difficult to build than the preceding, because the ends 
of so many of the pieces have to be cut at an oblique angle. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Screws, Hinges, Painting, in Part V., and 
look up any other references. 

First make a platform, as for the other floors, or the upright 
posts can rest upon posts set in the ground and the floor be dis- 

A Few Simple Structures 

2 93 

pensed with. Plates can be placed on top of the posts, and 
rafters extend from the plates at the top of each post to the apex 
of the roof. These plates and rafters will make a framework on 
which to nail the sticks which form the roof covering. The re- 
maining details are apparent. Much care is required, however, 
to put this house together properly, not merely in cutting the 
angles at the joints, but 
in sighting, measuring, 
and testing to ensure its 
coming together without 
twisting or winding. 

Instead of making 
this house six-sided, it 
can, if desired, be 
made rectangular like 
the preceding one, but 
keeping the same ar- 
rangement of the de- 
tails. This makes a 
very pretty design, 
and in respect to join- 
ing the pieces is much 
easier to make. An- 
other pretty plan is to 
build a hexagonal, octagonal, or circular house of this sort 
around a tree trunk. If the roof is fitted too snugly to the 
tree trunk, the growth of the latter may split the roof apart 
before the rest of the house is past its usefulness, so you 
should arrange this part to allow for the growth of the tree. 

Bath-house. A plain bath-house (Fig. 404) can well be 
made with a lean-to roof and put together on the same 
simple principles already shown; so that additional 

FIG. 403. 

294 Wood-Working for Beginners 

instructions for this design are unnecessary. A good way 
for such a building is to sheath it vertically as shown, but 
any of the other methods can, of course, be adopted. 

FIG. 404. 

FIG. 405. 

Boat-houses. By using the same simple system of 
framework shown in Fig. 389 you can make an inexpensive 
boat-house (Fig. 405). 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 

A Few Simple Structures 


Saw, Plane, Nailing, Screws, Hinges, Painting, in Part V., and 
look up any other references. 

The inclined slip or platform upon which you haul the boats up 
from the water requires simply two or three timbers for stringers, 
running down towards the water, with 2" planks nailed across, 

FIG. 406. 

as shown. The simplest way to square the ends of these planks 
is to nail them in place, allowing a little extra length, and then 
saw the ends all off at once by a line. 
A house of this Hind can be built to extend over the water (for 

296 Wood- Working for Beginners 

boats which are to be kept in the water) by arranging a founda- 
tion of stone or piles in the water, or by digging a little dock into 
the shore under the house. 

In these cases there must, of course, be an additional door of 
the ordinary kind for entrance on the shore end of the house, 
and it will be convenient, if the house is long enough, to floor 
over this end. A narrow floor or platform can also be extended 
along one or both sides to facilitate handling the boats and getting 
in or out of them. 

The sill at the water end will have to be omitted, of course, a 
piece of studding being fitted in at each side of the door-space, 

but these details you will 
have no- difficulty in arrang- 
ing if you have studied the 
preceding examples. 

A larger and more elab- 
orate boat-house, or club- 
house (Fig. 406), having 
a loft for storage as well 
as a balcony, can be con- 
structed on the same gen- 
eral principles already 

Before beginning work 
read carefully Marking, 
Rule, Square, Saw, Plane, 
Nailing, Screws, Hinges, 
Painting, in Part V., and 
look up any other refer- 

The end-plate for the end 
shown in the illustration cannot run across from side to side, be- 
cause of the doorway opening on the balcony, but can be made in 

FIG. 407. 

A Few Simple Structures 297 

two parts to extend from the sides to upright studs at each side 
of the doorway. A simple way of arranging the frame at the 
floor of the second story is shown in Fig. 407. 

Unless this building is very small (in which case it can only be 
used for the storage of oars, rigging, etc.), the sills should be of 
4" x 6" (on edge) or 6" x 6" stock, and the floor-beams of 2" x 6" 
stock. 4" x 4" or 4" x 6" will do for the corner-posts, and 2" x 4" 
for the studding and rafters for such a small structure as is ad- 
visable for the beginner to attempt. 

If you should, however, build anything large, the posts, the 
lower floor-beams, if unsupported in the middle, the plates, and 
the rafters should be heavier. If your house is to be used by 
many people and heavy boats are to be hauled in and out, it is 
much better to err on the side of having these timbers too heavy 
rather than too light. But these designs are only intended for 
comparatively small structures. 

The outer floor-timbers for the balcony had best be mortised 
into the posts (see Mortising). The top rail around the balcony 
can be of 2" x 4" studding, laid flatways, and with the upper 
angles bevelled (see levelling). The balusters can be simply 
square pieces nailed into place. The rail and balusters can, 
however, be obtained in a great variety of forms at a wood-work- 
ing mill, if you prefer to buy them. The braces under the bal- 
cony can be of 2" x 4" stock. All these outside parts should be 
planed by machine. 

The remaining details do not differ from those of the houses 
already described. 



BOAT-BUILDING, like many other kinds of work, can 
be done (even in its simplest stages) more quickly, 
more easily, and, of course, more cheaply, by two persons 
than by one, so it will be economy of money, time, and 
labour to find someone to join forces with you. Do not, 
however, give up your plans for lack of a fellow-workman, 
for nothing is given here which cannot be done by one 
person with, perhaps, a little help once in a while about 
holding or lifting something. 

If these boats seem rather simple compared with many 
which you have seen, and you fail to find here some form 
you have in mind to build, it is to be remembered that 
boat-building is by no means easy, and that many an at- 
tractive design would prove too difficult for the average 
beginner to finish successfully. The experience gained in 
building such boats as these will help you in more difficult 
boat-building. These simple models are not offered as 
being in themselves the best there are, nor are the ways 
shown for building them in every case such as would always 
be used by a regular boat-builder; but boat-building in- 
volves a variety of difficulties, not merely in the designing, 
but also in the execution. 


Boat-Building for Beginners 299 

It takes a good workman to turn out a really successful 
round-bottomed boat (except by the use of canvas), there- 
fore a few simple types of flat-bottomed boats are all that 
are treated here. When you have become skilful enough 
to attempt the more advanced forms, you can easily find a 
number of excellent books on boat-building from which to 
gain the needed information. The intention here is to 
show wood-working processes which you can use in making 
these simple craft, but not to go into the details of design- 
ing or of rigging, subjects which are far too complex to be 
satisfactorily treated, even for the beginner, in a hand-book 
on wood-working. 

While it is practicable to make a good punt, or flat- 
bottomed rowboat, entirely by rule of thumb, or " cutting 
and trying " as you go along, still you should accustom 
yourself, even in the simplest forms, to lay the work out 
on paper correctly first, as this is really essential, in order 
to work to good advantage when you come to the more 
advanced forms. 

Scows and Punts. A flat-bottomed boat, if made with 
care, may be not merely good-looking, but light, strong, 
and useful, and sometimes superior for some purposes to a 
round-bottomed boat. 

Boats of this class are easily and cheaply built and by no 
means to be despised. They are safe, capacious, and com- 
fortable, and the flat bottom permits much freedom of 
movement by the occupants, making them good boats for 
fishing and general use on ponds and rivers, as well as for 
transporting loads. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Painting, in Part V., and look up any other 

300 Wood-Working for Beginners 

The process is to first get out the sides, then the ends, next to 
fasten the sides and ends together as in making a box, then to 
nail on the bottom, and finally to put in the seats and any other 
fittings. Almost any kind of soft wood can be used for a boat 
of this kind. Pine is excellent. Care should be taken to select 
clear, straight-grained stock, free from knots, checks, and other 
defects, and thoroughly dry. 

For the sides, take two boards, for example, 14' long, 14" wide, 
and -J" thick, planed on both sides. Both edges should be 

FIG. 408. 

" jointed " and the ends squared and sawed accurately. Mark, 
saw, and plane the slant at each end of these boards as shown in 
Fig. 408. The ends must next be got out. In this case they can 
be 4' long and 4^" wide. Nail together the sides and ends just 
as in making a flat box. Use three nails (3" or 3^" long) at each 
corner. It is safest to bore holes for the nails (see Boring}. 
Copper nails are best for boats, but galvanized iron answers very 
well for common boats of this kind. Next place this frame, 
bottom up, on horses or boxes or a flat floor and plane down the 
projecting edges of the end pieces to agree with the slant of the 

Pieces for the bottom are now to be sawed from boards about 
6" to 8* wide. Mark and saw one piece and use it for a pattern 
by which to mark the lengths of the remaining pieces. You can 
take the length directly from either end, allowing a trifle (say ") 
to spare, for planing the ends after they are nailed. Having 

Boat-Building for Beginners 301 

sawed the required number of pieces, which will depend on the 
width of the boards, nail them on carefully. Before nailing, 
thoroughly paint the bottom edge to which they are to be nailed 
with thick white-lead paint. See that the edges of each board 
are straight, paint the edges as you lay them, and nail thoroughly 
with 2%" nails. Do not put the nails so close to the edge as to 
cause splitting. The edges of the pieces which come together at 
the angles of the bottom must be fitted carefully with the plane 
(see Bevelling], to make as tight joints as possible. The boards 
should be pressed closely together as they are nailed. They will 
assist in keeping the sides and ends of the boat at right angles, 
but it would be well to test the angles with the large square, or by 
measuring the diagonals, when you nail on the first two boards. 

A quicker way is to nail on all the boards (not sawing them 
accurately to a length) and then to saw the ends all off by a line. 

A good way is to use, for the bottom, plain sheathing or 
matched boards, if obtainable without the bead or moulding 
commonly worked on the surface, which would be apt to cause 
leakage. The sheathing can be planed down on both sides to a 
thickness of -f ", which will remove the moulding, but this is rather 
thin for the bottom of a boat as large as this, though an excellent 
way for a narrower boat. 

When the bottom is all nailed on, turn the boat on each side 
and plane off any irregularity in the ends of the bottom boards, 
so that they will be flush with the sides. 

A cleat from 4" to 6" wide should be laid along the middle of 
the bottom to stiffen it, as shown. The nails should be driven 
through the boards and clinched. Wrought nails, or some kind 
that will bend over and not break, must of course be used for 
this. This cleat is often nailed on the outside instead of the 

Nail a seat at each end directly on top of the sides and ends 
as shown. From 12" to 18" in width will do. The seat for row- 
ing (about 8" or 9" wide) can rest on cleats, as shown. 

Next screw a cleat, about 2" deep, $" thick, and 10" long, to the 

302 Wood-Working for Beginners 

insides of the gunwales at the places for the rowlocks (see 
Screws). Common iron rowlocks can be bought almost any- 
where, and the way to put them on is obvious (see Boring). A 
substitute for them can be arranged easily by simply boring two 
holes, 3^* apart, for the insertion of round thole pins of hard 

wood. Another 
simple way (Fig. 
409) is to make two 
mortises or slots, 
3^" apart and i* 

long x f wide, to 
FIG. 400. FIG. 410. u . i 

hold thole pins 

(Fig. 410). The cutting can be done wholly in the cleats by 
sawing and paring. 

Insert a ring-bolt at the end by which to fasten the boat, or a 
staple can be driven in, or a hole bored at the end of the seat. 

If care has been taken to make close joints, the wood will swell 
on being put in the water and in a short time the boat should be 
tight. Unless made for some temporary purpose, however, a 
boat that is worth making at all is worth painting. It should be 
painted carefully with lead paint, both inside and out, two or 
three coats, being careful to work the paint well into the wood 
and the cracks (see Painting). 

Instead of laying the bottom boards tightly together, as directed 
above, they can be laid slightly apart, so that the cracks between 
them will be about \' wide. These can then be caulked with 
oakum, cotton-batting, or wicking, or something of that nature. 
Roll or twist the material into a loose cord, unless already in that 
form, and force it into the cracks with a putty-knife, screw- 
driver, case-knife, or anything of the sort. A regular caulking- 
iron is not at all necessary for a small boat. A piece of hard 
wood will do. Be sure to fill the seams thoroughly and tightly 
with the oakum or other caulking material. Then apply white 
lead plentifully to the caulked seams. But the method first given 
is usually satisfactory if you do your work with care. 

Boat-Building for Beginners 303 


Pitch or tar can be used in making the bottom of a boat of this 
kind tight. 

A form which is a decided improvement on the preceding 
is shown in Fig. 41 1. The process of making this punt will 
be first to get out the cross-board which goes in the middle, 
and next the sides and ends. These pieces having been put 
together, the bottom is nailed on, and finally the seats and 
other fittings are added. 

FIG. 411. 

The one here described is small, but large enough for two 
good-sized boys. The dimensions are given merely to help 
illustrate the process. As much larger boat as may be 
desired can, of course, be made upon the same principles. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Painting, in Part V., and look up any other 

Care should always be taken to select clear, straight-grained 
stock, free from knots, checks, and other defects, and thoroughly 
dry. Pine is excellent, but almost any good wood can be used 
for a boat of this sort. 

First get out carefully a board, perhaps 3' long, or the width 
of the boat (at the middle), and of the shape shown in Fig. 412, 
removing a small piece at each lower corner, to allow for the 

304 Wood-Working for Beginners 

passage of any water which may leak in. Get out each side of the 
boat, 10' 4" long, of f stock, carefully squaring the ends. After 
these are cut, mark a distance of 3' from each end towards the cen- 
tre on the edge of one of the boards and a dis- 
tance of 3" on the ends, measuring from the 
other edge, and mark the curves shown in 
Fig. 413, which should sweep easily from the 
edge of the board without any abrupt turn. If you cannot draw 
a good curve free-hand, take a spline or thin strip of wood, 
bend it on the side of the board towards one end till you get a good 
curve, hold it in position, and using it as a ruler mark the line 
with a pencil. You can cut this curve and use it for a pattern 
by which to mark the other curves. These curves can be band- 
sawed or cut with the draw-knife or hatchet and plane (see Par- 
ing). Whatever method you adopt, the curves should finally be 

FIG. 413. 

run over with the plane to remove irregularities, and care must be 
taken to keep as accurately to the line marked as possible. The 
top edges must also be jointed, although it is not material that 
they should be absolutely straight. Mark a line with the square 
across each board at the centre. Next get out the end pieces, 
2 long, 3f" wide, and of \" stock (Fig. 414). Bevel the ends of 
these pieces at the same angle as the centre board already sawed, 
from which you can mark the angle. 

An easy way to put this boat together will be to put the sides 
and ends together, and then, by spreading the sides 
apart, to put the middle board in its proper place. 
Bore holes for 2$" screws at each end of the sides 
(see Boring) and screw the sides and ends together 
loosely (see Screws), not driving the screws home, but leaving 
their heads sticking beyond the sides perhaps an eighth of an 
inch. Now lay the boat (so far as made) bottom side up on the 

Boat-Building for Beginners 305 

horses or boxes, or even with one end on the floor and the other 
raised by a box, and, spreading the sides in the middle as much 
as may be necessary, push the middle board up into place, get- 
ting it exactly opposite centre lines previously marked on the 
sides and so that the bottom edge of the board is just even with 
the inner edge of the bottom of the sides. This piece can now 
be nailed in place by three nails at each end. 

Now, on looking at the ends where the sides are screwed, you 
will see that spreading the sides has caused the joints (purposely 
left loose) to open slightly at the inside, and that the ends require 
to be slightly bevelled or trimmed to make a close joint. Un- 
screw one end, do the necessary trimming with the plane, replace 
the piece, and screw it into position again, driving the screws 
home and adding- one or two nails. Do the same with the other 
end and the boat will be ready for the bottom. 

But before the bottom is nailed on, the lower edges of the sides 
must be bevelled with the plane, 
owing to the sides flaring out- 
wards. The degree of bevelling 
required can be determined by lay- 
ing a board across (Fig. 415). At FlG - 4 J 5- 
first it will only touch the outer angles of the edges, and the plan- 
ing must be continued until it bears flat on the entire edge. 

Now get out of \" stock the bottom boards, the edges of which 
should be carefully jointed to fit together as tightly as possible. 
These boards should be thoroughly nailed to the sides of the boat 
with 2^" or 2\" nails, care being taken not to nail too near 
the edges of the boards, lest they split. As the sides are only 
f thick you will have to be careful in driving the nails or they 
will split the sides. Before you finish nailing the first bottom 
boards, test the symmetry of the frame by measuring the diago- 
nals. These should be equal. If not, you can easily make them 
so with your hands, and tack a couple of strips diagonally across the 
gunwales to keep the frame in position until the bottom is nailed 
on. Also sight across the gunwales to see that the frame is true. 

306 Wood- Working for Beginners 

If it winds, correct the error by blocking it up where needed. 

Sheathing can well be used for the bottom of this boat, as foi 
the one just described, if you can get it without the moulding. 
The bottom can also be caulked (see page 302), but if you can- 
not get the sheathing the way first described will answer every 

After the bottom is nailed on, turn the boat on each edge and 
plane off any irregularities at the ends of the bottom boards, so 
that they will be flush with the sides. 

Next nail a strip, about 3" or 4" wide and f " thick," lengthways 
on the middle of the bottom, on the inside. Fasten this to each 
board with a couple of nails driven through and clinched on the 
outside. This will serve to stiffen the bottom. 

Next deck over each end with a seat 12" wide nailed directly 
on top of the sides. Put in a seat, or thwart, 9* wide and " 
thick, next to the middle brace, as shown. Cleats can be nailed 
to the sides under this seat. This should be a fixed seat, nailed 
to the cross brace and to the sides of the boat, which will assist 
in stiffening the sides. 

You can nail a gunwale strip, 2" wide by -J* or f thick, on 
top of the sides and reaching from one end seat to the other, 
or you can put a somewhat smaller strip around the outer 
edge of the gunwale, which is quite as good a way. It is not 
really necessary to put any gunwale strip on so small a boat, 
but if omitted a cleat must be screwed on for the rowlocks (Fig. 
409). If you put the gunwale strip on top, it will make a more 
workmanlike job to first plane the edges of the gunwale so that 
they will be horizontal across the boat, in the same way that you 
planed the bottom edges to receive the bottom boards. 

Put the centre of the rowlocks about 12" aft of the centre of 
jjt&Sk, the boat, raising them an inch or so above the gunwale 
^^^ by means of a cleat (Fig. 416), as shown. 
FIG. 416. At a distance of about 28" from the bow, you can, if 
desired, put in a 6" thwart between the gunwales or a little lower, 
and in the middle of this thwart bore a hole for a small mast, 

Boat-Building for Beginners 307 

putting below and slightly forward upon the floor a block with a 
smaller hole. Sailing does not amount to very much in a boat 
of this sort, but a small sail is often very useful when going be- 
fore the wind and adds to the fun. 

This makes a very useful and safe boat for a couple of boys 
for river or pond work. 

If you wish to make a larger one you will have no difficulty 
after studying the process given above. The only difference 
need be in the dimensions. 

For one 12' long you could make the beam at the gunwale 
(outside) 3' 6" and at the bottom 2' 10", the beam at the bottom 
of the ends (outside) 2' 10" (same as amidships) the ends to 
flare upward at the same angle as at the centre, the boards for 
the sides being 14" wide. 

For one 14' long, you could make the beam 4' at the gunwale, 
3' 4" at the bottom, the same at the ends, and the sides could be 
made of boards 15" wide. Stock f " thick is sufficiently heavy for 
the sides of a boat 14' long. 

The seats for a larger boat than that described can be arranged 

to rest as shown in Fig. 417, and an 
extra mould or cross-board not far 

from each end can be used ' as 

FIG. 417. 

FIG. 418. 

A piece of keel or skag can be added at the stern end, if de- 
sired, as shown in Fig. 418. This will assist in rowing straight. 
Fit a piece of ^" board to the curve of the bottom, keeping the 
straight edge parallel with the top. Square off the end in 
line with the stern, nail the skag firmly to the bottom, and nail a 
stern-post, |" x i\" or i|", securely to the stern and the skag. 
A rudder can be hung to the stern-post if desired. A centre- 

308 Wood-Working for Beginners 

board is sometimes added to a punt, being arranged in the way 
shown on page 330. A lee-board is often used on punts and 
scows. It is merely a centre-board lowered outside of the boat 
instead of in the centre. 

FIG. 419. 

Small Rowboat. A simple form of skiff, or common 
flat-bottomed rovvboat (Fig. 419), called by various names, 
is similar to the punt at the stern, and the mode of con- 
struction is similar. The boards for the sides are not cut 
away on the bottom at the bow, as in the punt, but are left 
full width and drawn together to form a sharp bow. The 
ends are usually, but not always, cut off with a slight slant 
at the bow, which gives a rake to the stem (Fig. 420). 

FIG. 420. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Painting, in Part V., and look up any other 

Care should be taken to select clear, straight-grained stock, 

Boat-Building for Beginners 


free from knots, checks, and other defects, and thoroughly dry. 
Pine is excellent. Any good wood can, however, be used. 

Make a middle mould (Fig. 421), as in the case of the punt 
just described, and proceed with the con- 
struction in a similar manner, until you come 
to the bow. 

Screw the sides to the stern-piece (Fig. FlG 2t 

422) without driving the screws completely 

in, but leaving a little play to the joint (see Screws]. 
Next put the middle mould in place by lines pre- 
viously squared across each side. Nail the middle 422- 
mould in position. Then, letting someone draw the bow ends 
of the sides together (or if you are alone, binding them together 
temporarily), release the stern-piece and plane its ends to make 
close joints with the side pieces, as in the case of the punt already 
described. When these joints are fitted, paint them with white 
lead and screw or nail the sides securely (and permanently) to 
the stern board. 

Draw the fore-ends together and fit a piece of hard wood in the 
angle at the bow as shown in Fig. 423. You can cut this piece 
approximately to shape with a hatchet and then plane the surface 
down until you get an accurate fit. When you have made it fit, 
paint it and also the sides where they bear against it. After- 
ward screw or nail the sides firmly to this stem-piece, letting 
each end of the stem project a little. 
Screws are best (brass screws if for salt 
water), but nails can be used. Do not 
drive them all in line, but add a second 
row farther from the edge and alternately 
arranged. If a piece of hard wood is not 
available, a block of soft wood can be 
used, but it should be somewhat larger. 

Another pattern of stem-piece can be used (Fig. 424). Much 
pains should be taken in making this post. The rabbets on each 
side should be cut with care, trying to get the sides alike and to 

FIG. 423. 

3io Wood-Working for Beginners 

cut accurately to the lines marked. When the cutting is nearly 
done, put the piece in place and you can then note any changes 
which may be required to make tight joints. When you finally 

have a good fit, paint and fasten in 
place as described above. 

Still another form ot stem-piece is 
shown in Fig. 425. One side of the 
boat must be got out longer than the 
other to allow for the lapping over at 

the bow, the stem-post being first 
FIG. 424. FIG. 425. 

fastened to the shorter side and then 

trimmed if necessary, until the side which laps over fits accurately. 

When the boat is fastened together to this extent, it will fre- 
quently be found that the bottom has too much curvature length- 
ways, according to the degree to which the sides flare outward 
and bend up at the ends. This you can remedy by trimming off 
the sides in the middle, first carefully marking the desired line. 
Measure accurately, in doing this, to be sure that the two sides 
will be alike. In removing the superfluous wood do not attack 
it hastily with hatchet or drawknife, for wood often splits in a 
way surprisingly different from the direction in which the grain 
appears to run (see Paring}. It is sometimes best to remove the 
wood with the splitting-saw, but stop all such processes some dis- 
tance outside of the line, and rely upon the plane for the final 

The lower edges must be bevelled off accurately, ready for the 
bottom boards, the same as in the case of the punt (Fig. 415). 
Next nail on the bottom, using common boarding or sheathing 
as in the case of the punt just described, and put in the stiffening 
strip of board along the middle of the floor. 

If the middle mould comes in such a position that it will be in 
the way if left in place permanently, you can simply tack it into 
position with a couple of nails at each end, leaving the heads 
protruding enough to draw them out easily. When you have put 
in the seats and any other braces necessary to ensure the sides 

Boat-Building for Beginners 311 

keeping their position, you can draw the nails and take out the 
centre mould. 

Fit seats at bow and stern, putting them two or three inches 
below the gunwale and resting them on cleats. 

In case you use the stem-piece shown in Fig. 423, saw or plane 
off the projecting ends of the sides at the bow smoothly and 
screw (or nail) on a cutwater made of some hard wood and with 
a sharp edge. Fasten strips along the gunwale, " wale strips," 
as already shown. 

A skag can be put on at the stern, if desired, as described on 
page 307. 

Such a boat can be sailed by adding a centre-board (see page 
330) or by bolting on a keel several inches in depth. A small 
sailboat can be made in this way by making the stern narrower, 
proportionately, the sides higher, and decking over the bow and 
stern. The decking can extend over all the top, if desired, ex- 
cept a well-hole around which can be fitted a coaming or wash 
board. The keel can be of plank fitted carefully to the shape of 
the bottom, its lower edge being horizontal towards the after part, 
which will make it quite deep at the stern. A rudder should be 
added for sailing. 

FIG. 426. 

Skiff or Flat-bottomed Canoe. A double-ended skiff, 
batteau, or flat-bottomed canoe (Fig. 426), known by various 
names, can be easily made by simply carrying the process 

312 Wood-Working for Beginners 

already described a little further, and drawing the sides to- 
gether at the stern as well as at the bow, thus forming a 
boat sharp at both ends. This is an excellent type for the 
amateur, whether in the form of a small canoe or a quite 
good-sized boat for rowing, or even light sailing. Such a 
boat is light, easily propelled, buoyant, does not pound the 
waves when meeting them so much as the punt, and the 
sharp stern is good when running before a sea. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Painting, in Part V., and look up any other 

Care must be taken to select clear, straight-grained stock, free 
from knots, checks, and other defects, and thoroughly dry. 
Pine is excellent, but almost any good wood can be used for a 
boat of this sort. 

The sides can be bent into place around a mould in the middle 
and brought together at both ends and two end-posts fitted. In 
other respects the process differs so little from the preceding that 
complete description is needless. 

The two stem-pieces, which you can fit in the manner already 
shown, will, theoretically, be alike. Practically, there should not 
be more than a very trifling difference required in their shape. 
Having found the shape for one, get the other out just like it. 
If it does not fit perfectly, it can be trimmed until it does fit; 
but if the first one fits right and the second fails to do so by more 
than a trifling degree, you had best look the boat over and verify 
your work, and you may find that you have cut something too 
long or too short or got something in the wrong place. Paint the 
ends of these sides where they will be in contact with the stem 
and stern with white lead. 

The sides and ends can be put together as follows: Take either 
side, screw it securely to the stem-pieces at each end. Dip the 
screw points in white-lead paint. Next screw either end of the 
other side to the corresponding stem-piece, which will leave 

Boat-Building for Beginners 313 

the sides separated at an acute angle, with one end of one side not 
yet fastened to its corresponding bow- or stern-post. The ends 
being alike it does not matter which is called the bow or stern. 
To fasten this remaining joint, it will be necessary to spring or 
bend the sides. If you have someone to help you, you can 
easily put the midship frame into position and bend the sides 
around it until the unfastened end comes into the correct position 
against the stem-piece, to which it can be held and screwed 
firmly. If you can get no help, you can hold the sides in posi- 
tion by using a rope doubled and inserting sticks at top and 
bottom by which the rope can be twisted and shortened (see 

Another way is to put a box or joist, perhaps a couple of feet 
long, between the sides, to prevent making too much strain on 
the end fastenings, and, having secured the unfastened end, the 
frames can then be laid flat, the sides drawn farther apart, and 
the midship frame forced into position. The latter will be in 
position when it agrees with the lines previously drawn on the 
sides and when the bottom is flush with the inner corners of the 
lower edges of the sides. Nail the sides to it with if" or 2" 
nails, or it can finally be removed if not needed for stiffness. 

The remaining details do not differ from those previously de- 
scribed. The rowlocks can be placed wherever desired in the 
way already described, but if the boat should be too narrow for 
this arrangement, they can be fastened to outriggers, which the 
blacksmith can easily contrive. 

A flat-bottomed canoe can be made on this same prin- 
ciple, the only difference being to have less beam and to use 
a paddle or paddles instead of oars. 

A very successful small canoe, suitable for quiet waters, can be 
made of quite thin wood (perhaps |" to It" in thickness), the out- 
side being covered with canvas. In case of building so light a 
craft as this, however, it is best to insert regular ribs at distances 

3 14 Wood-Working for Beginners 

of about a foot to give the necessary stiffness, and to lay the 
bottom boards lengthways. The ribs can be bought in any large 
town on the water, or you can fashion them yourself. Natural 
bends are always preferable, but you can make knees (on the 
general principle shown in Fig. 433) of straight-grained stock, 
which, though clumsier and not so strong, will serve the purpose. 
Care must be taken in fastening on the bottom not to split 
either the bottom or the sides. But the canvas will be the 
main reliance in keeping the boat tight. The canvas can be put 
on in three pieces, first the sides, and then the bottom. Cover 
the sides down to the bottom and let the bottom piece lap up 
over the sides two or three inches and the edges be turned under. 
Stiffen the gunwale by a strip. 

A light, removable board, or grating of slats, should be laid 
inside along the bottom, on the cross-frames. 

If well made and kept well painted so as to protect the canvas 
from wear at the exposed points, a light canoe of this sort will 
last many years and be a very useful boat. It must be kept out 
of the water and under cover when not in use. 

FIG. 427. 

A simple and cheap flat-bottomed canoe (Figs. 427 and 
428), but not canvas-covered, is not difficult to make by the 
process already described. First make the frames and the 

Boat-Building for Beginners 315 

stem- and stern-posts, then get out the sides. These parts 
are put together and then the bottom is put on, the well- 
hole coaming fitted, the boat decked, and finally the minor 
fittings added. 

FIG. 428. 

First make the centre frame like Fig. 429, the bottom strip being 
of " stock, i"deep, and the side pieces of |" board. Screw the 
pieces together with two screws at each angle. Care must be 
taken to make this frame symmetrical or the boat will be one- 
sided. You can draw the outline of the frame carefully on a 
piece of stiff brown paper, drawing a vertical centre line and 
measuring both ways for accuracy. Lay this pattern on the 
bench top, or on a smooth floor, and place the pieces for the 
frame on the drawing so that the outer edges just coincide with 
the outline of the drawing. Hold them firmly in position and 
screw the angles securely together. Tack a waste piece across 
near the top to help keep the frame in shape until in position. 
Next get out two frames like Fig. 430, taking the dimensions 
from your plan, two more like Fig. 431, and two like Fig. 432. 

FIG. 429. FIG. 430. FIG. 431. FIG. 432. 

To make the stem- and stern-posts, take two pieces of joist, about 
2" x 4" and of sufficient length, and with the chisel and saw cut 
a rabbet on each side of each piece, on the principle shown in 
Fig. 424. Give these rabbets a good coat of white-lead paint. 

The sides are got out in the way already shown. On them 
mark the position for the centre mould. Insert and nail into 

316 Wood- Working for Beginners 

place the two next largest frames, at the proper places, and so on 
until all are in position. All, except the centre one, will require 
to have their edges slightly bevelled with the plane to fit the sides. 
You can do this best as you put them in place. Paint the edges 
of the frames with white lead before nailing them in position. 
Next fit pieces of J" board to form the coaming around the well- 
hole, and fasten them to the three middle frames. The details of 
this you can easily arrange for yourself. The general idea is ex- 
pressed in Figs. 427 and 434. 

Before proceeding further with the deck, thoroughly paint the 
whole of the inside of the boat with white lead, working it well 
into all the joints and cracks. After giving it a few days to dry, 
look the inside over carefully for any holes or defects to be 
stopped. After filling any there may be, give the entire inside 
another coat, working it well into all crevices as before. Do not 
neglect this part of the work, as it will not be easy to get at the 
inside (except "in the middle) after the deck is put on. 

On the middle of the deck stretch strips of %" wood about 4" 
wide from the coaming of the well to the stem- and stern-posts, 
tapering the pieces as they approach the ends and resting them 
on the tops of the frames, to which they should be firmly nailed. 

If you wish to sail, a stiff brace or thwart can be put in for the 
mast, with a block for a step. 

One or more strips, i^x^", can now be placed longitudinally 
on each side of the deck and nailed to the frames. 

Additional deck-beams, running from gunwale to gunwale, and 
having the requisite arch or convexity, can be put in if needed. 
A few brackets can also be put under the deck, reaching from the 
sides to the coaming, if needed. 

A keel about one inch square, or deeper at the centre, if desired, 
can be fitted along the entire length of the bottom. It had best 
be fastened on with screws. If your boat is to be used in deep 
water only, you can make the keel 3" or 4* deep in the middle, 
rockering it up towards the ends, and the boat can be sailed 
without a centre-board. 

Boat-Building for Beginners 317 

Cover the deck with canvas, fastened with small tacks to the 
coaming and to the sides. The edges of the canvas can be drawn 
down over the gunwale for about half an inch, the edge being 
finally covered by a gunwale strip screwed from stem- to stern- 
post. A piece of half-round \" moulding is good, although any 
small strip will do. Dampen the canvas and then give it at least 
two coats of paint. A .wooden deck can be put on if preferred. 

Canvas-covered Canoes. To make a really good canoe 
wholly of wood requires a degree of skill much greater than 
can be expected of the beginner, or than is attained by the 
average amateur. Any boy or amateur can, however, with 
the help of canvas and with a very few tools and at slight 
expense, make some simple varieties which will serve the 
purpose satisfactorily. The canoe is sharp at both ends, 
requires only a paddle, and is light enough to be easily 
handled ashore. If carefully made, a canvas canoe will be 
strong, durable, and not difficult to mend, though repairs 
are seldom necessary if proper care is taken. If canvas of 
good quality is used, it will not be easily punctured or torn 
as one might think, but will stand an amount of banging 
around, running into snags, dragging over obstacles, and 
abuse generally, that would badly injure any but the best of 
wooden canoes. 

The variety of designs for canoes which has developed 
or been evolved from the more primitive forms is in these 
days almost endless, and the number of types from which 
to choose is confusing. The purpose for which the canoe 
is to be used will help you somewhat in selecting the type 
whether for paddling only, or sailing, or for cruising and 
general use, and whether for a river or small pond, or for the 
deep and rough water of a lake or bay. All these matters 
must be considered in determining the beam, depth, shape 
of the midship section, the draught, degree of sheer, 

318 Wood- Working for Beginners 

whether to have keel, centre-board, or neither, and other 
points. This is too complex a subject to be treated in a 
hand-book on wood-working, and you can easily obtain the 
desired information, as well as detailed instructions for 
drawing the plans, from some good book on the subject. 

A caution against making the framework too light and 
without sufficient stiffness may not be out of place. One 
frequently sees canoes, made by young boys, of such flimsy 
pieces and covered with such weak cloth that one is sur- 
prised that they can live in the quietest mill-pond, which is 
really testimony to the tenacious strength of a canvas- 
covered boat when properly made. A certain degree of 
flexibility is one of the desirable features of these boats, 
but they should always have sufficient stiffness to maintain 
their general shape in all weathers and in all waters to 
which a canoe is suited ; therefore be sure to make a frame 
which will keep its shape of itself without relying upon the 
canvas to hold it together. 

It is quite common to see these boats which (otherwise 
well built) lack stiffness lengthways that is, in the longi- 
tudinal vertical section. Such boats after a little use become 
bent up in the middle, or " hog-backed." This is entirely 
unnecessary. Be sure, before putting on the canvas, that 
your frame is stiff enough lengthways to keep its shape per- 
manently. If by any fault in your planning you find that 
it is not so, be sure to add extra stiffening braces inside 
before putting on the canvas, or your boat will probably be 
a failure. 1 

1 Unless too heavily loaded, a canvas-covered canoe will float in case of a 
capsize, but some form of air-chambers is desirable and a safe precaution in 
any small boat. It is hardly safe to rely upon your ability to build water- 
tight compartments in the ends of canvas (or wooden) boats, as is sometimes 
recommended that is, as a part of the regular construction of the boat. It is 
not easy for an amateur to do this. It is better to have the air-tight compart- 

Boat-Building for Beginners 319 

Canvas-covered boats should always be kept out of the 
water and under cover when not in use, as long-continued 
exposure to the water will be injurious. 

An easily constructed paddling canoe, 14' or 15' long, 
and with beam about 30", will first be described. 

It should be understood by the novice that this first form 
of construction here given is not that adopted by the profes- 
sional boat-builder. It is given simply as a process by 
which one untrained in the more regular methods of con- 
struction can turn out a cheap and serviceable canoe, and at 
the same time acquire experience which will be of use if he 
should later attempt the more scientific, but also more 
difficult, details of construction used by regular boat- 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, Painting, in Part V., and look up any other 

Care should be taken to select clear, straight-grained stock, 
free from knots, checks, and other defects, 
and thoroughly dry. 

Having made your working drawings for 
a canoe of the size and proportions which 
you may think best to adopt, begin the 
actual work by getting out moulds (Fig. 
433) upon exactly the same principle as 
in the case of the flat-bottomed canoe just 
described, except that they will be of curved 
outline, as this is to be a round-bottomed FlG - 433- 

ments made separately and independent of the boat itself. Copper boxes or 
air-tanks fitted to the space at the ends are the best and the only really reliable 
expedient, but they are expensive. Light wooden boxes covered with canvas 
and thoroughly painted can be used, as well as galvanised boxes or even var- 
nish cans sealed and painted. Any such contrivance can be made tight at first, 
but is always liable to become leaky (except by the use of copper tanks), par- 
ticularly as it is usually concealed from examination. 

320 Wood-Working for Beginners 

boat. Get out also a bottom strip or keelson with 
stern-pieces, which can be alike. 

The arrangement and method of fit- 
ting these parts is evident from the illus- 
trations. The keelson can be laid along 
the edge of a plank or some flat surface 
and blocked up towards the ends to give 
the desired degree of curvature or 
rocker. First fit in place the centre 
mould and then the two at the ends of 
the well-hole (Fig. 434), with the stem- 
and stern-posts (Fig. 435). These can 
be temporarily tacked or stayed in 
place until you are sure the positions 
are right. The coaming frame or wash 
board around the well-hole can now be 
put on, which will hold the three middle 
frames securely, and the two deck-strips 
running lengthways from the well-coam- 
ing to the tops of the stem- and stern- 
posts can be attached (Fig. 435). Next 
fit the two gunwale-strips, putting in also 
the remaining moulds or frames. After 
this the lengthways ribbands are to be 
fitted around the moulds from bow to 
stern (Figs. 435 and 435a, showing sec- 
tion at end of well). This will com- 
plete the shape of the boat. 

stem- and 

FIG. 434. 

FIG. 435. 

Boat-Building for Beginners 321 

Great care must be taken with all this adjusting of the frame- 
work, measuring, sighting, and testing in every way you can 
think of, to see that all the curves are " fair," without sharp or 
irregular turns, and also to see that both sides of the boat are 
alike. This is very important. The pieces may be all of the 
correct lengths, but still the boat may be one-sided, or twisted, 
or have a list. 

A glance at Fig. 436 will show (as an exaggerated example) 

FIG. 435a. 

FIG. 436. 

that pieces of the right dimensions can easily be put together in 
such a way that the boat may be ill-shaped, an unfortunate re- 
sult which is sometimes seen in home-made boats, due to lack 
of care in testing the angles and curves when putting the work 

The ends of these strips will be more securely fastened to the 
stem- and stern-posts if depressions or 
" gains " are cut in the posts to receive them 
(Fig. 437), but this is not absolutely neces- 
sary if the ends are properly bevelled and 
carefully screwed to the stem- and stern-posts. 

For additional stiffness, insert a series of ribs (Fig. 435), from 
3" to 6" apart, according to their size and stiffness, from bow to 
stern. Barrel-hooping can be used and if sound is excellent, or 
strips of ash, oak, or elm, about $" x ", can be used. It will not 
be necessary to bend these around a form. Those near the mid- 
dle can be at once bent into place. As the ends of the boat are 
approached, the ribs will require to be rendered more pliable be 
fore being put in place (see Bending Wood}. The ribs can be 
nailed or screwed to the keel and finally be fastened to the rib- 


322 Wood- Working for Beginners 

bands, at their intersection, with copper nails clinched or riveted. 
Cheaper fastenings can be used, however, but copper is the best. 

To hold such pieces in place temporarily, clamps can be easily 
made which will be sufficiently strong for the purpose (see 
Fig. 548). 

When all these parts are fastened together, the frame will be 

To make a first-class job, the entire frame should be thor- 
oughly painted, or at least given a soaking coat of oil, or it can 
be varnished. 

For the canvas, get firm, closely-woven duck or sail-cloth of 
good quality and of sufficient width to reach from gunwale to 
gunwale. It is not necessary or advantageous to get the heaviest- 
weight grade, but beware of covering your boat with light drilling 
or the like, which, although you can make it water-tight, will not 
be sufficiently durable for anything but a boat for temporary use. 

Find the middle of the canvas, lengthways, and stretch it on 
this line directly along the keel, the frame of the boat being 
placed bottom up. Tack at each end, and then, starting at the 
middle, strain the canvas around the boat, working along a little 
way at a time towards each end alternately and tacking to the top 
or inside of the gunwale as you proceed. Do not try to cover 
the top with the same piece as the bottom. If you can get a 
large needle and some stout cord, you can pull the canvas into 
place by lacing the edges across the top or deck of the boat, 
working from the middle towards the ends. In lieu of a needle 
use an awl or a nail. By lacing in this way and by manipulating 
the canvas with the har.ds you can, if you are careful, stretch it 
to fit the frame so that it will be smooth to a point considerably 
above the water-line. At the upper part, as you approach the 
deck line or gunwale, you may be unable to prevent some fulness, 
which you can dispose of by pleating if necessary. At the ends 
some little folding under may also be required, but you need have 
no great difficulty in adjusting the canvas neatly and so as to 
make tight joints. It is a good plan to cut a shallow rabbet on 

Boat-Building for Beginners 323 

each side of the stem- and stern-posts, just deep enough so that 
when the edge of the canvas is folded under and tacked, the sur- 
face of the canvas will be flush with the side of the post (Fig. 
437). Small tacks should be used not large carpet-tacks. 
Copper are best, but galvanized ones can be used. In all parts 
where leakage could occur, the tacks should be driven closely to- 
gether, so that their heads touch, seeing that a good coat of lead 
is laid on the wood underneath. After the bottom of the canoe 
has been covered, the deck can be treated in the same way. 

When the canvas is all on, dampen it slightly and paint thor- 
oughly, painting, also, the coaming around the well-hole and the 
exposed parts of the stem- and stern-posts (see Painting). The 
dampening is supposed to cause the first coat of paint to pene- 
trate the canvas more thoroughly than if the canvas is quite dry. 
Oil is sometimes applied before painting. After it has dried 
thoroughly, apply another coat. Do not spare the paint, for 
though the canvas absorbs a great deal, which adds to the weight 
of the boat as well as to the cost, it is really essential in making 
a good canvas-covered boat that it be well painted. 

A light removable flooring, or grating of slats, should be placed 
on the bottom of the well, resting on the frames. 

To make a canvas canoe with a keel, you have only to 
make the keel 
of a piece of i" 
or i " s t o c k 
(with a depth 
of, perhaps, i^" 
or i"), thin- 
ning it some- 
what towards FIG. 438. 
the ends so that it will join smoothly with the stem- and 
stern-posts. It can be fitted to these posts as shown in 
Fig. 438, and screwed directly to the keelson. 

324 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Particular care must be taken that the keel be got out straight 
and that it be fitted exactly on the centre line. In this case the 
canvas may be put on in two parts, being nailed to the keelson 
on each side of the keel; or the canoe can be made as pre- 
viously described and the keel simply screwed on outside of the 
canvas, the latter being first thoroughly painted. Oak is excel- 
lent for a keel, but is rather heavy for a light canoe. Ash will 
do. Pine can be used. The keel will wear better if got out so 
that the concentric rings (annual rings) of the wood will be hori- 
zontal or parallel with the bottom of the boat and at right angles 
to the screws with which the keel is fastened on. If these layers 
incline slightly upward at the bow the keel will wear better. 

A more advanced form of construction, and one more in 
line with the methods of a regular boat-builder, is shown in 

FIG. 439. 

Fig. 439, the essential difference between this and the 
form previously described being that regular bent ribs are 
substituted for the frames made of board, and the latter, 
after serving as moulds around which to build the boat, are 

Boat-Building for Beginners 325 

taken out, the bent ribs being sufficiently stout to ensure 
strength and stiffness. 

If you attempt this method the ribs must be carefully bent (see 
Bending Wood}. Oak, ash, or elm is suitable for ribs. If a 
cooper's shop is within reach you can get the material there. It 
must, of course, be of good grain and free from flaws. 

The process of construction is similar to that already shown. 
A suggestion for the arrange- 
ment of deck timbers (which 
can be of oak, ash, spruce, or 
any strong wood) is shown in 
Figs. 439 and 440, and for put- 
ting in a curved wash board or 
coaming in Fig. 440. For the 
latter a thin piece of straight- P IG> 

grained oak, elm, or ash can be used. 

An excellent way to make a canvas-covered canoe is shown 
in Fig. 441. The essential principle of this consists in having 
a stiff gunwale, stiff keelson (inside the ribs), and ribs stout 
and numerous enough to ensure a permanently strong and 
stiff framework without the assistance of the lengthways 
ribbands. The outside is then sheathed with very thin 
strips of basswood, pine, or any reasonably strong and light 

wood (perhaps -^" thick and 2" 
or 3" wide), fitting them carefully 
to the shape, but without any at- 
tempt to make water-tight joints. 
If this boat, which is complete in 
all respects except that of being 
water-tight, is then covered with 
canvas as already described, the re- 
sult will be a strong, smooth boat, without the irregularities of 
surface which are a necessary feature of the unsheathed form, 

326 Wood- Working for Beginners 

This method is adopted in making canvas-covered canoes 
after the model of the birch-bark canoe, and the result is an 
admirable boat, which, while perhaps hardly equal to a 
genuine " birch " of Indian manufacture, is certainly the 
next thing to it for an open paddling canoe. Of course, if 
you can work up your design after the model of a real 
birch, you will have accomplished as much as you could 
wish in this line but to design and construct a good canoe 
upon the birch model is not an easy thing for the beginner 
to do, and had best not be attempted until after consider- 
able experience in simpler and less graceful forms. This 
mode of construction can well be applied, however, to a 
canoe of almost any type. The sheathing can be painted 
and the canvas laid on the fresh paint. 

Another form of construction is to omit the keelson and 
fasten the frames and ribs directly to the top of the keel, 
having previously cut a rabbet for the canvas (as in case of 
the stem- and stern-posts) on each side of the keel at the 
top; the canvas by this arrangement being put on in two 
parts, one on each side of the keel. 

It is, of course, possible to construct a canoe with nothing 
but two gunwale-strips, stem- and stern-posts, a strip for a 
keelson, and a number of barrel-hoops for ribs; and such 
affairs are quite often put together by boys, but they are 
apt to be of light and flimsy construction and to lack suffi- 
cient stiffness to keep their shape after being used for a 
while. A certain degree of flexibility and lack of rigidity is 
desirable in a canvas-covered boat, and, in fact, it is to this 
quality that it owes much of its merit ; but it should have 
enough stiffness to hold its general shape permanently. 

An extremely simple method is to omit the stem-pieces 
and simply bend the keelson up at each end to meet the 
gunwales at bow and stern, where all the lengthways pieces 

Boat-Building for Beginners 327 

can be fastened to a block, canvas being stretched over the 
whole as already described. A canoe which turns up so 
excessively on the bottom at bow and stern has some dis- 
advantages, but still a useful and cheap boat can readily be 
made in this way. It should have a quite flat cross-section 
in the middle. 

Most canoes can be sailed on the wind, often very suc- 
cessfully, by having a deep keel which can be rockered or 
increased in depth towards the middle or by adding a 
centre-board. But the latter is quite a nice operation, par- 
ticularly so in case of making your first boat (see page 330). 

The holes and the steps for the masts should be arranged be- 
fore the canvas is put on, fitting extra thwarts across if needed, 
and it is a good plan to fit tubes for the masts. In case of sail- 
ing, the steering can be done with the paddle, or a rudder can be 
used (in which case a straight stern-post should be put in, for 
which a knee is good) and lines be led forward to the well-hole 
from a yoke at the top of the rudder. Many arrangements have 
been devised for steering sailing-canoes, but these details, as well 
as those for the rigging, can be found in any good book on the 
subject. If you are a novice, begin with a simple leg-of-mutton 
sail (Fig. 448). 

It is better to buy oars than to try to make them. You 
may, however, have occasion 
to make a paddle. A good 
shape is shown in Fig. 442, 
but you can choose from a FIG. 442. 

variety of forms. 

The length can readily be determined from some paddle which 
suits you or you can experiment with a strip of wood. Five 
inches is a good width, and 5' to 5^' a good length, but these are 
matters of individual preference. Spruce is a good wood for 

328 Wood-Working for Beginners 

your first attempt at paddle-making. It makes a good paddle 
and is easier to work than birch, beech, or maple, or any of the 
harder woods. Pine can be used. Use a centre line in making 
your pattern. After the pattern is marked on the wood have the 
outline sawed at a mill or do it yourself with the turning-saw, 
or make a series of saw-kerfs to the line with the hand-saw and 
remove the superfluous wood with the draw-knife, spokeshave, or 
chisel (see Paring). Having the outline correct, mark a line 
along the middle of the edge of the blade, and gradually and 
carefully shave the surfaces down towards this middle line, also 
tapering the thickness towards the ends. The draw-knife, spoke- 
shave, plane, rasp, file, scraper, and sandpaper can be used (see 
all of these tools in Part V. and also Paring and Rounding Sticks}. 
Great care is needed to trim a paddle nicely to shape. A little 
hasty cutting may ruin the work. 

The double-bladed paddle can be made of a single piece, or 
two pieces can be joined by a ferrule (Fig. 443). The double- 
bladed paddle can be from about 7' to 8' or 9' long and the blades 

are made broader and 
shorter than that of 

the single paddle. A 
FIG. 443. 

couple of round rub- 
ber rings on each end of the handle will stop some of the drip- 
ping of water from the blades as they are raised. 

Small Sail-boat. The boat shown in Fig. 444 is a good 
form for the amateur to attempt, and makes a serviceable 
craft for sheltered waters. From twelve to sixteen feet is a 
good length, and the beam should be wide, as shown. The 
depth can be from twelve to sixteen inches. 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, Nailing, in Part V., and look up any other refer- 

Care should be taken to select clear, straight-grained stock, 

Boat-Building for Beginners 329 

free from knots, checks, and other defects, and thoroughly dry. 
Pine is excellent. 

The general principle of construction does not differ from that 
of the flat-bottomed boats already described, and detailed direc- 

FIG. 444. 

tions are therefore omitted. The sides should each be of one 
f" or " board. The arrangement of the details is obvious. 
Knees can be used to good advantage. The deck should be of 
wood, the boards (*) resting on cross-beams or carlins, reaching 
from gunwale to gunwale (as already shown) and slightly arched. 
Around the well-hole, brackets can be used (Fig. 445). The 
deck can be covered with canvas. 

This boat, as shown in the illustration, is planked across the 

bottom like the other flat-bottomed boats 

already described, but the bottom boards 
can run lengthways instead, if preferred. 

In this case knees should be inserted, or 
FIG. 445. .. . 

cross-frames of some kind, to reach across 

the bottom and to which the bottom boards can be nailed. The 
bottom boards should be not less than f" thick and the edges 
must be carefully jointed (see Jointing). They can be laid 

33 Wood-Working for Beginners 

FIG. 446. 

slightly apart and the seams caulked (see page 302). Strips of 

flannel laid in thick white-lead paint can be placed between the 

edges of the sides and stern 
and the bottom boards, or 
the edges can simply be 

The construction of the 
case or trunk for the cen- 
tre-board can be under- 
stood from Figs. 446 and 
447. By either method of 
construction the trunk con- 
sists of two upright posts, 
or " headledges, " cut with 
shoulders at the lower end, 

and sides of board screwed to these posts. A slot is sawed 

through the bottom of the boat of sufficient width and length to 

give the centre-board free passage that is, of the dimensions of 

the opening at the bottom of the trunk. To cut this slot several 

holes can be bored close together until an opening is made 

sufficiently large to start the saw. 

By the arrangement shown in 

Fig. 446, a plank is taken and a 

slot is cut in it enough longer 

than that in the bottom of the 

boat to include the lower ends of 

the headledges, which should fit 

snugly. The sides of the trunk 

are screwed to this plank from 

underneath, and the plank is in 

turn screwed to the bottom of the 

boat. The headledges can be 

additionally fastened from the 

edge of the plank, horizontally. Unless the bottom of the boat 

is straight, the plank must be accurately fitted to the curve on the 

FIG. 447. 

Boat-Building for Beginners 331 

under side, not an easy task (see Scribing and Paring). All the 
joints should be laid in thick white-lead paint, and at the bottom 
flannel can be laid in the seam, with lead, or caulking can be re- 
sorted to. 

By the method shown in Fig. 447, the headledges and sides 
are fitted to a board on the bottom, or to the keelson, and, after 
being put in place, strips of plank are fitted lengthways on each 
side at the bottom and bolted or screwed to the bottom and to 
the sides of the trunk. The lower edges of these strips must be 
fitted to the curve of the bottom and the whole made tight, as 
just shown. Much care must be taken with this work to make 
tight joints. The inside of the trunk should be painted before 
putting together, and holes be bored carefully for all the screws 
(see Boring and Screws). 

The centre-board itself can be of wood or of galvanized plate 
iron and is pivoted at the forward lower corner, and can be raised 
and lowered by a rod attached to the after corner. 

Remember to paint the inside of the boat carefully with at 
least two coats before putting on the deck, and also that copper 
nails and brass fittings are better than those of galvanized iron 
(particularly for salt water) if you can afford them. 

The coaming or wash board can be of \" oak, ash, or elm. 
The deck can first be laid, lapping slightly over the space to be 
left open. The line for the coaming can then be marked on the 
deck, and the projecting wood sawed or trimmed to the line, 
when the coaming can be bent into place and fastened. 

The gunwale-strip, like the stern-post, the rudder, and the 
tiller, should be of hard wood, as oak. Hackmatack is good for 
the stem. 

The mast should be of spruce. A strong thwart, with a hole 
in it, can be fitted across between the sides, just under the deck, 
and a block with another hole fastened to the bottom. The 
place at which to step the mast must depend upon the style of rig 
you adopt. 

One who is used to sailing a boat will not seek for information 

33 2 Wood-Working for Beginners 

on this subject in a manual on wood-working, but for the novice 
it may be well to state that a leg-of-mutton sail (Fig. 448) is un- 
doubtedly the simplest, easiest, and safest rig for the beginner, 
and it will be wise to learn to manage this rig first. The sprit- 

FIG. 448. FIG. 449. 

sail (Fig 449), with or without the boom, is an easily managed 
sail, which works well with this boat. Either of these rigs can 
be unshipped in a moment, the mast, sail and all being lifted out 
when desired. For other styles of rigging you should consult 
someone used to sailing or some book on the subject. 
For the painting, see Painting, in Part V. 

Small Ice-Boat. The main framework of even the most 
elaborate ice-boat consists merely of a lengthways centre 
timber or "backbone" and a cross-piece or "runner- 
board " (Fig. 450), the whole resting on three runners, one 
of which acts as a rudder. 

Boat-Building for Beginners 333 

Before beginning work read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, 
Saw, Plane, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

A small boat can be made as shown in Fig. 451. The dimen- 

Fio. 450. 

sions can easily be altered. The particular rig given is merely 
for illustration, for this is not a book on sailing, and you can find 

FIG. 451. 

all the facts you need about rigging in any good book on the 
subject. If you are a novice you had best be content with a 

334 Wood-Working for Beginners 

simple leg-of-mutton sail (Fig. 448), which is, for the beginner, 
the safest and most easily managed. A sprit-sail (Fig. 449) or 
some other simple form can be used if desired. If you know 
how to sail a boat, you can adopt such rig as you think best. 

First get out the backbone. Get a piece of clear spruce, or 
pine, perhaps 12' x 3" x 4" '. A round spar may be used. Be 
careful to select good lumber, as great strain is put upon it. A 
piece which has naturally sprung lengthways should be placed 
with the convex edge upwards. Next get out the runner-board, 
perhaps 6' x z" x 9", of spruce. Pine is also good, or any 
strong wood will do. Choose a clear, sound plank. If naturally 
sprung in a bow-like curve, put the convex side upwards. Smooth 
the pieces sufficiently to avoid splinters and roughness. Thin 
the runner-plank on top each way from the centre down to about 
an inch in thickness at each end, if you can have it sawed at the 
mill. It is hardly worth while to do this by hand. Fasten the 
runner-board, at exactly the middle of its length, across the back- 
bone, at a point perhaps 6' from the stern end, with a strap-hanger 
(Fig. 452) screwed up with nuts and broad washers on the under 
side. If you cannot afford this, put a bolt through both pieces 

(see Boring}, tightening 
underneath with nut and 
washer, and putting 
cleats on the runner- 
board (Fig. 453). Be 
sure that one edge of the 
runner-board is straight 
and at right angles to the 
FlG< 452 ' FlG - 453 " backbone. Nail a piece 

of board, 18* long and 3* wide, across the stern end of the centre 
timber. Add the two side pieces a b and c d (Fig. 450), of 2" 
spruce joist, nailing them firmly in place, thus forming the sides 
of an irregular box (see Nailing). Turn the frame over and 
nail a bottom on this box, laying the boards crosswise and nail- 
ing to the backbone as well as to the sides and end. 

Boat-Building for Beginners 335 

Next, to make the runners, get out six pieces of oak, or other 
hard, strong wood, 9" x 3" x 4". Mark with the square from the 
straightened edge of the runner-board the positions for the inner 
blocks, equally distant from the backbone, screwing them in 
place (Fig. 454), with one screw in each. Measure across with 
a stick from one 
to the other at 
each end to see 
that they are just 
parallel, and also 

test their being at "FIG. 454 . 

right angles to the 
runner-plank, which in turn must be at right angles to the back- 
bone, in order that the runners may be parallel and not slewed side- 
ways. Having tightly screwed these inner blocks, brace them with 
angle blocks, as shown. The outer blocks can next be fitted, leav- 
ing just space enough for the runners to play freely, but not loosely, 
between the blocks. The holes for the pins for the runners can 
be bored in the outer pieces before they are screwed on. Then, 
using these holes as a guide, those in the inner blocks can be 
bored in line. The runners themselves should be carefully made 
and fitted, for they are a very vital part of the boat. On the 
large boats they have usually been made of oak, with a shoe of 
cast iron at the bottom attached by bolts, but this is quite a piece 
of work for a small boat and you can get the blacksmith to work 
out the whole runner, with a hole bored for the pin-bolt. Make 
a pattern about 18" or 20" long, rocking very slightly in the middle 
and more quickly near the ends. The hole for the pin 
should be back of the middle, so that more of the shoe 
will be in front of than behind the pin. This is to les- 
T^ sen the shock when the runner strikes an obstruction. 

P iLr. 455* 

The cutting edge may have an angle of about 45 for 
trial (Fig. 455). If too blunt or too sharp you can alter it. 
It will take considerable filing to get the edge true, straight, and 
uniform (see Filing}. Finish with an oil-stone. 

33 6 Wood-Working for Beginners 

FIG. 456. 

The rudder-runner can be a little shorter. Screw a piece of 2" 
oak plank on top of the rudder-blocks and on top of this fasten 
a plate or socket to which is attached a piece of gas-pipe about a 
foot long, for a rudder-post. At the top of the rudder-post screw 
an elbow and a short piece of pipe for 
a tiller (Fig. 456). If suitable gas-pipe 
cannot be found, the blacksmith can fix 
an arrangement that will answer, but it 
must be strongly fastened to the rudder- 
blocks, and there should be some kind of 
metal bearing between the wooden top of 
the rudder and the under side of the backbone, if nothing more 
than a washer. The two surfaces of wood should not rub against 
each other. Wind the handle of the tiller with cord, cloth, or 
bicycle tape. 

Stay the bowsprit (or forward end of the backbone) by stout 
wires to the runner-plank. These can best be of wire rope passed 
through eye-bolts or attached to iron straps and tightened with 
turnbuckles, but to save that expense strong wire can be used. 
Notches can be cut at the edges of the runner-plank and the 
backbone, and wire be wound around to hold rings to which the 
wire guys can be fastened, but it is hard to make such an ar- 
rangement taut and to keep it so. Next fasten a mast step with 
square hole to the backbone (Fig. 457), forward of the front 
edge of the run- 
ner-plank. Put 
i n eye-bolts at 
ends of the run- 
ner-plank and at 
the bow for 
shrouds and a few 
inches from the stern of the backbone for the main sheet. Wire 
rope is best for the shrouds, but common wire or rope can be used. 
For the mast and spars use natural sticks of spruce. The 
sides of the box can be built up higher at the stern with boards, 

FIG. 457. 

Boat-Building for Beginners 337 

if you wish, to prevent being thrown off by the sudden move- 
ments of the boat. A rubber washer under the backbone where 
the rudder-post passes through is sometimes used to lessen the 
jar when passing over obstructions. A curved piece of wood 
fastened on the under side of the backbone just in front of the 
rudder will act as a fender for the rudder, in case of slight 

The whole boat can be oiled, painted, or varnished if desired 
(see Finishing and Painting}. 

If you use a cat-rig, sprit-sail, or other rig without any head-sail 
before the mast, it would be well to place the runner-plank further 

FIG. 458. 

The latest and best way to brace the frame of an ice-boat is to 
strain guys of wire rope (Fig. 458), tightened with turnbuckles, 
omitting the side pieces, and fastening a car or box to the back- 
bone, but this arrangement, though lighter and more elastic, is 
more expensive and not so easy to make for a small boat as the 
one just described. 

A somewhat simpler way to arrange the framework is shown in 
Figs. 459, 460, and 461. In place of the runners already de- 
scribed a cheaper arrangement can be made by the blacksmith 
of f" bar iron, steeled, and bent up at the ends, as shown in Fig. 

338 Wood-Working for Beginners 

A much smaller affair can be made by simply arranging two 
pieces of joist or plank in the form of a cross (bracing them so 
far as may be necessary), putting cleats under each end of the 
shorter cross-piece or runner-board and fastening common skates 

to the cleats, using another 
pivoted skate at the stern for 
a rudder. The runners of 
the skates should be ground, 
or filed, as shown above. 

The details of such a small 
ice-boat you can work out 
for yourself by modifying 
and simplifying according to 
your ingenuity the sugges- 
tions for a larger boat given 
above. The hardest part to 
fix is the rudder-post and 
tiller. Some iron arrange- 
ment is best, but something 
can be contrived in the fol- 
lowing manner, which is not, 

<IG. 460. however, recommended as 

_ =J ^_igt| very satisfactory. Fasten the rudder skate 
upon a piece of board in which is cut a mor- 
tise. Into this mortise a short piece of hard 
wood, like a large broomstick with squared 
end, is fitted for a rudder-post. The upper end of the rudder- 
post, squared just like the lower end, is fitted into a mortise cut 
in the tiller piece. A washer should be placed between the skate- 
block and the backbone, and the rudder-post should turn freely 
in the hole in the backbone, but not loosely enough to wobble 
around. Cut the mortise in the tiller and fit to the post before 
cutting off and shaping the tiller, to avoid danger of splitting. 
An extra block may have to be put under the backbone at the 
rudder to level the boat so that the skates will bear properly on 

FIG. 461. 

Boat-Building for Beginners 339 

the ice, for if the stern is much lower, so that they drag by the 
heels, the boat will not sail properly. Wooden arrangements of 
this sort are, however, only justifiable as makeshifts, and require 
good workmanship to be strong and effective. 

House-Boat. A house-boat consists of two parts, one of 
which (the boat) is essentially like the scow or flat boat 

already described, and the other (the house) is usually much 
the same as some of the little structures described in Part 
III. (House-building for Beginners), however expensively 
and elaborately it may be arranged and fitted up. The 
advantages of the house-boat for camping, shooting, fishing, 
and for some kinds of excursions are too well known to re- 
quire explanation. It is an excellent thing for two or more 
to build together. It may not be out of place to suggest 
that, in the desire to have the house sufficiently large and 
convenient, you should not be misled into making plans 
which will necessitate building a large boat. Dimensions 
(on paper) for such things are quite deceptive, and to build a 
large boat, even of such a simple type as the scow or 

340 Wood-Working for Beginners 

flatboat, is quite a serious undertaking for the beginner as 
regards both labour and expense. 

If you can find a scow or flatboat already built, of suitable 
dimensions and which is sufficiently tight, or can be made so by 
caulking, you have only to proceed to build the house upon it. 
If, however, the boat as well as the house is to be built, you can 

FIG. 462. 

proceed to build the boat in the way already described (page 299). 
Additional suggestions may be found in Figs. 462 and 463. 

Before beginning read carefully Marking, Rule, Square, Saw, 
Plane, Nailing, in Part V., and look up any other references. 

Two-inch plank should be used for these boats, which are in- 
tended to be from 14' to 20' long. After putting together the 
sides, ends, and bottom, as already described, 2* x 4* joists can 
be laid lengthways on the bottom, as shown, which will afford an 
underpinning for the house, will distribute the weight over the 

Boat-Building for Beginners 341 

bottom, keep the floor raised above the water which may leak in 
or collect from the rain, and also stiffen the structure of the 
boat. Before laying these joists, notches should be cut on the 
under edges with the saw or hatchet, in several places, to allow 
the water to pass through, as in the case of the boats already 

The illustrations show a general system of construction for the 

FIG. 463. 

house, which can be followed, or you can make such alterations 
as you think desirable. In addition to the suggestions in the 
accompanying illustrations, further details and suggestions will 
be found in Part III. {House-building for Beginners). Most of 
the details are matters of personal preference, and can readily be 
arranged without more detailed description. The roof had best 
be covered with canvas, put on as one piece (being sewed pre- 
viously if necessary). If laid in paint and then given two or 
three coats of paint, much as in the case of the canvas-sheathed 
canoes already described, a tight and durable roof will be the 

342 Wood- Working for Beginners 

result. After the edges of the canvas are tacked under the edge 
of the roof, strips of moulding can be nailed around under the 

An even simpler way to make the roof is to have it flat, but 
slanting slightly towards either bow or stern. An inclination of 3" 
is enough, with tight canvas roof, to shed the water. 

The remaining details of the construction of the house have 
already been treated. The interior arrangements you can con- 
trive as desired. 

Either, or both, of the ends can be decked over, or the whole 
can first be decked over and the house built on the deck. In 
this case, access to the hull, for stowage, can be had by hatches, 
or trap-doors inside the house. If both the ends are to be 
decked, the hull can very well have one or two lengthways divi- 
sions of plank, for stiffness and strength, that is, insert between 
the ends one or two pieces of the size and shape of the sides, in 
which case the lengthways joist already spoken of will be omitted. 
This is a good way. In case of decking, nail a strip of moulding 
on the outside along the juncture of the house and the deck, so 
as to make a tight joint, which should be well painted. 

If one or both ends are undecked, a removable grating of slats 
(a part of which is shown in Fig. 462) will be useful. 

It is well to have at least one window at the bow end of the 
house, for the boat will of course lie with bow towards the wind 
and it will be a good thing when housed in a storm to be able to 
see to windward, as you cannot well keep the door at that end 
open, while the after door will usually be sufficiently sheltered to 
be left open. Many modifications of these simple plans can be 
made. The roof can be extended over either end, which is easily 
done without altering the system of construction. This is very 
convenient under some circumstances, and will add but little to 
the expense. The frame can even be covered with canvas, but 
this will be inferior to wood, except in point of lightness. A 
solid roof is best, however, in any case. 

Sweeps must, of course, be provided for rowing, sculling, or 

Boat-Building for Beginners 343 

steering, and a mast can easily be added, on which sufficient sail 
can be hoisted to be quite a help in going before the wind. If 
a mast is used, the door at the bow end of the house can be at one 
side of the end so that the mast can be close to the house, to which 
it can be fastened. A rudder can be added, if desired, with a 

The whole craft should be thoroughly painted (see Painting). 

Houses are sometimes built on rafts. This will do very well 
if the raft is a good one, like a float. A float can be easily made, 
if you have the materials, by laying a thick flooring on logs or 
heavy timbers and providing greater buoyancy than such a plat- 
form naturally has by fastening under it, between the timbers, 
as many empty and sealed barrels or casks (oil-barrels are good) 
as may be necessary. When the float is stationary and under 
ordinary circumstances, there is, of course, no need to fasten 
the casks in any way except to fence them around so that they 
cannot roll or slide out, as their buoyancy will prevent their 
escaping, but it is easy to fasten them by chains or otherwise if 
needed. This makes an excellent foundation on which to build 
a house, and has some advantages over a boat for a stationary 
arrangement, but is obviously not as well suited for moving 
around as a scow or flatboat. 




Anvil. An anvil is often useful and is sometimes combined 
with a vise. It should have a flat steel surface and also a taper- 
ing, rounded (conical) point. An old flat-iron does quite well. 

Auger- Bit. See Bits. 

Awl. The Bradawl is the simplest boring tool you will use. 
Unlike gimlets and bits, it does not take out any wood, but merely 
presses it aside out of the way, which is good for nail and screw 
holes, because the elasticity of the woody fibres tends to make 
them spring back and close around the nail or screw, thus help- 
ing to keep it in place. The awl should always be a trifle smaller 

than the nail. Bore with 
the cutting edge across 
the grain of the wood, on 
the same principle as in 
driving nails (Fig. 464), 
lest the wedge shape of 
the tool cause the wood to 
FIG. 464. s P Jit (see Na iling ) . 

P r es s the awl straight 

down in this position until the point is well into the wood, when 
you can twist it a little, at the same time pushing it further into 
the wood. There is always risk of splitting thin wood near an 


Tools and Operations 345 

edge, unless you use great care. The bradawl can be sharpened 
easily. See Sharpening and also Boring. 

Do not buy combination awls with " tool-chest handles," filled 
with an assortment of awls and little chisels, gouges, screw-drivers, 
saws, etc. Such affairs are sometimes useful, but the loose tools 
are apt to become lost or broken, and the money can be used to 
better advantage in other ways. 

It is well to have a variety of sizes of awls, fitted into hard- 
wood handles. An awl handle into which awls of various sizes 
can be fitted, somewhat as a brace holds bits, answers very well, 
if you have to carry your tools from place to place, but for shop- 
work it is more convenient to have each awl in a separate handle. 

The Marking-aivl or Scratch-awl is simply an awl with a round, 
sharp point used for marking in carpentry, but for very close 
work a knife or chisel is better. See Marking. 

Axe. This is such a common tool that it needs no descrip- 
tion, and is, moreover, seldom required for amateur work. 

Back-Saw. See Saw. 

Beading. A tool for scraping beading, reeds, and the like, 
can be made by filing the reverse of the shape required on the 

FIG. 465. FIG. 466. 

edge of a piece of saw-blade steel, taken from a broken saw or 
scraper, and inserting this blade in a kerf sawed in the end of a 
piece of wood (Fig. 465). To change the position of the blade, 

346 Wood-Working for Beginners 

one or both of the screws can be loosened and then tightened 
after the blade has been adjusted. This tool is pushed forward 
with both hands, much like a scraper, the shoulder of the block 
bearing against the edge of the board as in using the gauge (Fig. 
466). Tools for this purpose can be bought. 

It usually produces the best effect not to carry this beading to 
the extreme ends of an edge, but to stop a short distance from 
the ends and with a chisel cut the beads to a square and abrupt 
end (Fig. 305). See Plane. 

Bending Wood. To bend a piece (without steaming or boil- 
ing) which is to be fastened so that but one side will show, make 

a series of saw-cuts of equal 
depth (Fig. 467) across the 
piece, and partly through it, 
on the back side (the side 
which will not show), first 

FIG. 467. 

FIG. 468. 

running a gauge line along the edge (see Gauge] , that the cuts 
may be of equal depth. This will practically, so far as bending 
is concerned, make the piece thinner, and it can readily be 
bent and fastened in position. The nearer together and the 
deeper the cuts are the more the piece can be bent that is, up 
to the breaking-point. Hot water can be used on the face side. 
Such curves can sometimes be strengthened by driving wedges, 
with glue, into the saw-kerfs after the piece is bent to the desired 
curve (Fig. 468). 

To make a small piece of wood pliable, so that it will bend to 
any reasonable extent (which, however, depends much upon the 
kind of wood), soak it for some time in boiling water, when 
it can usually be bent into the desired shape. It must be securely 

Tools and Operations 


held in position until the moisture has entirely left it, or it will 
spring back to (or towards) its original shape. This drying will 
take from several hours to several days, according to the size of 
the piece and the condition of the atmosphere. There is almost 
always a tendency to spring back a little towards the original 
shape, so it is well to bend a piece a little more than you wish it 
to remain, except where it is to be fastened so that it cannot 
spring back. 

Wood which naturally bends easily (particularly thin pieces) 
can often be made pliable enough by simply soaking in cold 
water, but hot water is usually more effective. Anything which 
you cannot manage with the hot water you can take to a mill or 
a ship-yard and have steamed in a regular steam-chest, which is 
really nothing, in principle, but a big wooden or iron box, with a 
steam-pipe running into it, in which the pieces are kept until 
the steam has made them pliable. Wood is now bent for many 
purposes by " end pressure," but this is impracticable for the 

To bend the ends of pieces like skis, hockies, etc., a big kettle 
or common wash-boiler 
full of boiling water 
can be used. An ap- 
paratus for long sticks, 
as ribs for a canoe, can 
be made with a piece 
of iron pipe of suitable 
size. Plug one end 
tightly and stick it 
firmly in the ground, 

so that the pipe is fixed 

, j- FIG. 469. 

in a slanting direction. 

Put water in the pipe, build a fire underneath, put the sticks in 
the pipe, stuff a rag loosely in the upper end and the apparatus 
will be in working order (Fig. 469). 

You must often have some sort of form or mould for bending 

348 Wood- Working for Beginners 

the piece and for holding it while drying. For some kinds of 
bending, where there is no occasion to be accurate, you can often 
bend a piece around some corner or common object, as a barrel, 
log, etc., and tie it in place until dry, or fasten it with cleats, but 
for nice work you should make a form or mould. If you wish to 
bend ribs, for instance, which should be accurate in shape, you 
can cut a piece of board or plank to fit the concave side of the 
desired curve. Fasten this piece upon any flat surface, as an old 

plank, and bore holes for wooden 
pins around the curve at such a dis- 

FIG. 470. 

FIG. 471. 

tance from the pattern piece or mould that the piece to be bent 
can be firmly wedged against it, as shown in Fig. 470 ; or 
you can attach blocks instead of pins any arrangement by which 
the bent piece can be wedged in place. A strap of hoop iron or 
other metal or even a thin piece of wood can be placed outside 
of the stick to be bent, to prevent the wood splitting or splinter- 
ing on the outside, as it is liable to do if bent much, unless of 
good quality and straight grain, but there is no need of doing this 
in many cases. 

Another way is to have the mould or form in two parts, as the 
two parts of a board or plank through which the curve has been 
sawed (Fig. 471). The piece to be bent is put between the two 
forms, which are then pressed together by clamps, wedges, or a 
lever. This is a good way for short pieces which cannot 
easily be bent, or which do not readily cling to the required 

Another form of bending-mould is shown (an inverted view) in 

Tools and Operations 


Fig. 472. In this case the pieces to be bent are held in place by 
easily made clamps. 

A simple way to make a form for 
bending strips is to cut the curve out 
of a piece of plank, or boards nailed 
together (Fig. 473). The end of the 
strip is then caught against the cleat 
and the piece bent around the curve. 


% \ X 

FIG. 472. FIG. 473. 

If it tends to spring off the curve, you must contrive some way 
to clamp, wedge, or even tie it in place. As a piece must be left 
on the form until dry and set, if you have a number to bend, it 
may be better to make a form wide enough to bend them all at 
once. Take any boards, or build a curved addition on the end 
of a box, and contrive a wider form 
on the same principle (Fig. 474.) 

For ribs, and the like, the stock 
should be got out so that the annual 
layers will be at right angles to the 
direction of the nails with which 
the pieces are to be fastened, or 
parallel with the curved sides of the 

FIG. 474. 

Bevel. This is similar to the square, but with a movable 
blade which can be set at any angle. When permanently fixed 
at an angle of 45, it is called a mitre-square. The bevel is 
useful, not merely to mark any desired angle, but to repeat some 

350 Wood-Working for Beginners 

angle already formed, to which you apply it, moving the blade 
until it fits the angle, when the tool can be applied to another 

piece and the angle re- 
peated. The direc- 
tions about holding the 
head of the square 
close to the edge apply 
also to the use of the 
bevel (see Square]. 

To obtain an angle 
of 45 with the bevel, 
place it against the in- 
side edge of the large 
steel square (Fig. 475), 

FIG. 475. 

setting the blade at such an angle that it will intercept equal 
distances on both arms of the square. 

On this same principle, for other angles, observe the figures 
intercepted by the blade, as shown in Fig. 476. Note that for 
this angle the figures are 2 and 4, and you can get the angle again 
at any time by setting 
the bevel at those 
figures. You can also 
set the bevel by laying 
off the required angle 
with compasses on a 
straight-edged board, 
to which the bevel can 
be applied. The 
angle should be so laid 

out on the board that 

it will not be neces- FlG - 476> 

sary to try to set the point of the compasses exactly at the edge, 

which is of course impossible. See Bevelling. 

Bevelling. To bevel the edge of a piece with the chisel, 

Tools and Operations 


draw-knife, spoke-shave, plane, or even knife, first mark parallel 
lines to work to with a pencil-gauge (see Gauge] rather than a 
spur-gauge, so as not to leave a scratch to disfigure the work after 
the bevel or chamfer is cut (Figs. 477 and 485). Then pare the 
edge down gradually to these lines, or prepare the way by first 
scoring the wood with cuts (Fig. 615), being sure to trim off in 
the direction of the grain ; but in bevelling both end and side, 

FIG. 477. 

FIG. 479. 

as in Fig. 478, first cut the end, because of possible chipping at 
the corner, and in cutting the end you can work from each corner 
towards the centre. In paring a bevel across the grain, push the 
chisel as shown in Fig. 479, as it is the easiest and cleanest way 
to cut, and prevents splintering. 

A simple bevel (Figs. 477 and 478) is usually best made with 
the plane, whenever there is room to use it. Plane bevels in end 
wood from both edges and you can often slant the plane to good 
advantage like the chisel in Fig. 479. See also Chamfering. 

Bit-Brace or Bit-Stock. This tool requires no description. 
The ratchet brace is useful for boring in awkward places where it 
is difficult to use a common bit-stock. There is also a con- 
trivance for extending the bit-brace to bore in places which can- 
not be reached by the common brace alone, but this you will 

352 Wood- Working for Beginners 

seldom require. An angular bit-stock, with a " universal angle " 
adjustment, is useful. By this the bit can be pointed in different 
directions, while the bit-stock is turned continuously in the ordi- 
nary way, thus enabling a hole to be conveniently bored in an 
out-of-the-way corner. See Boring. 

Bits. The auger-bit (the sizes of which are arranged by six- 
teenths of an inch) so commonly used with the bit-brace, con- 
sists, at the cutting end, of a spur, two scoring-nibs, 
and two cutting-lips. You will see from Fig. 480 that 
the spurtf, acting like a gimlet point or a screw (which 
it is), starts the bit by drawing it into the wood so that 
the scoring-nibs b make a circular cut around the cir- 
cumference. As this cut deepens, the cut- 
ting-lips c slice away the wood to be removed 
in the form of shavings, which are brought 
to the surface as the boring proceeds. 

This bit can be sharpened with a file, the 
scoring-nibs being sharpened from the inside, 
lest they be made to score a circle too small 
for the rest of the bit, while the cutting-lips 
are filed from the under side. 

The centre-bit is a useful tool, particularly 
FIG 480 * r ver y l *" n stoc k- The spear-like point a FlQ ~ 

(Fig. 481), acting as a centre, the point b 
cuts a deep ring, and the edge c, which is bent so as to form a flat 
chisel, scoops out the pieces of wood, and so a round and smooth 
hole is made. This bit does not cut very well with the grain. 
It can be sharpened with a small oil-stone. It is well to bore a 
trial hole with this bit in a piece of waste wood when exactness 
is required, because the spur is not exactly in the centre, so 
that the hole cut is a trifle wider than the diameter of the bit. 

The expansion-bit has an adjustable contrivance that enables it to 
bore holes of various sizes, but such tools are hardly necessary for 
beginners, though very convenient and often used by carpenters. 

Tools and Operations 


The gimlet-bit is a common form, but is easily dulled and bent 
and is likely to split delicate work. The quill-bit is excellent, 
except for end grain. Shell-bit, gouge-bit, pod-bit, spoon-bit, 
duck 's-bill-bit, etc., are names applied to simple tools good for 
boring small holes. They are easily sharpened with a stone, 
work quickly and leave a smooth hole, but do not cut so well in 
end grain. They are not as much in use as formerly, the twist- 
drill taking their place for many purposes. 

Reamers, or tapering bits (half-round, square, octagonal, coni- 
cal), are useful to enlarge holes and occasionally to make them 
conical. Reamers for metal are also useful. 

For other forms of boring implements, see Awls and Twist- 
drill. See also Boring and Countersink. 

Block-Plane. See Plane. 

Boards or Planks, Laying Exposed. In laying boards or 
planks to be exposed to the weather, 
place them (unless they are from the 
middle of the tree) so as to have the 
outer side exposed that is, the side 
farthest from the heart should be put 
outside or uppermost. If put the 
other way the action of the atmos- 
phere, water, etc., will tend to sep- 
arate and loosen the layers and fibres 
(Fig. 482). 

Boring. In boring with the bit- 
brace, after the bit has gone a short 
distance into the wood, stop and, 
keeping the brace in position, test 
carefully from in front and from one 

side to see whether the bit is at right angles to the surface. Re- 
peat this test and alter the position of the brace as many times 
as may be necessary until you are sure that the bit is going through 

354 Wood-Working for Beginners 

at the right angle. A common way to do this is to stand squarely 
in front of the work and judge by the eye whether the bit is at right 
angles with the work, and then to stand at either side at right 
angles to the first position and judge of the angle again. The 
tfcrection of the bit can be tested more accurately by applying the 

FIG. 483. 

square. Few people can bore accurately without some such 

Some workmen rest the chin on the left hand on top of the 
handle of the brace, to steady it (Fig. 483), and to increase the 
pressure, and sometimes the shoulder is applied. 

To remove a bit from the wood, give the brace a turn or two 
backward, which will loosen the spur, and then either pull the bit 
straight out, if it can be done easily without turning the brace, 
or, as you pull it out, keep turning the brace as if boring, thus 

Tools and Operations 


bringing out the chips, which, if you remove the bit by turning 
the brace backward, will be left in the hole. 

In boring through a board or timber, watch to see when the 
spur of the bit begins to come through on the other side; when it 
does, turn the piece over and bore in from that side, or clamp 
a piece of waste wood on the other side and bore right through 
into it. Either way will prevent splintering or a ragged or 
" burred " edge, where the bit leaves the wood. 

In boring a hole of any depth with the grain, /. e., in the end 
of a piece of wood, withdraw the bit, after it has entered the 
wood a short distance, to clear the chips from the hole, reinsert, 
bore, and withdraw again, and continue in this way until you 
reach the required depth. This will save injuring the bit, and 
will make the boring easier. 

In boring with small bits, particularly when there is danger of 
splitting, as with the gimlet-bit, draw out the bit and chips once 
in a while. 

When the position of a hole must be exact on both sides of the 
wood it is well to mark the position accurately on each side and 
bore from each side until the holes meet. 

Frequently holes must not be bored through a piece, but must 
stop at a certain depth. Suppose you have to make a dozen holes 
2" deep. Take a wooden tube if you 
have one, or bore a hole through a 
block of wood of such length that 
when pressed against the jaws of the 
brace two inches of the end of the 
bit will project beyond the tube or 
block (Fig. 484). Then bore until 
the end of the tube touches the sur- 
face of the wood, when the hole will, 
of course, be 2" deep. Metal attach- 
ments can be bought for this purpose. See Awl, Bits, Twist-drill. 

To cut a hole larger than any bit you have, bore a series of 
smaller holes just within the circumference of the desired circle, 


356 Wood-Working for Beginners 

and trim to the line with the gouge or finish with keyhole or 

Bow- Saw. See Saw. 
Brad-awl. See Awl. 

Bruises, To Take Out. Small bruises in wood can be 
taken out by wetting the place with warm water, or even with 
cold water, and rubbing down the grain with sandpaper if neces- 
sary. If that is not sufficient, a hot iron, as a flat-iron, held near 
the bruise, the latter being covered with wet blotting paper or 
several thicknesses of brown paper, will often remove a quite large 
dent. The operation can be repeated until it has no further effect. 

Brushes. It is well to have a brush of some sort for cleaning 
off work, the bench, etc. A sash brush is good. 

For most of your painting, shellacing, etc., you will usually 
get along better with small flat brushes than with large round 
ones, except for very coarse work. Those with flattened han- 
dles are convenient. From one to two inches in diameter will 
usually be large enough, unless for such work as painting the 
outside of a house, when something larger will save time. For 
painting small or narrow surfaces, the brushes used for " draw- 
ing " sashes are good, and for drawing lines " pencil " brushes 
will be required. A good brush for glue can be made by soak- 
ing one end of a piece of rattan in hot water and then pounding 
the softened part, when the fibres will separate, making a stiff 

Bull-Nosed Plane. See Plane. 

Calipers. Calipers, which are "inside" or "outside," ac- 
cording to whether they are to find the diameter of a hole or the 
outside diameter of an object, are very important in some work, 
as turning, but, though very useful at times, are not nearly as 
important for the work of the beginner as compasses. 

Carving-Chisel. See Carving Tools. 

Tools and Operations 


Carving Tools. A few carving tools are often very useful 
for general woodwork. It is convenient to have these carving 
tools fitted in handles of a different pattern from your other tools. 
An octagonal shape is good. A carving- chisel is very useful 
in working on odd-shaped pieces, because the cutting edge is 
bevelled on both sides. A carver's skew chisel will be, perhaps, 
more generally useful for your work than one ground squarely 
across. A parting-tool, sometimes called a " V tool," is occasion- 
ally convenient, though hardly a necessity for most plain work. 
A small veining-tool (like a very small gouge) is often useful. 

Centre- Bit. See Bits. 

Chalk-Line. See Marking. 

Chamfering. A chamfer is the surface formed by cutting 
away the angle made by two faces of a piece of wood. 

In cutting the ends of a stop-chamfer (Fig. 485), take care not 
to cut quite down to the line at first, as you will be very apt to 
cut a little too deep and leave a tool mark which cannot be 
removed. In the case of long stop- chamfers, use the plane 
whenever you can, so 
far as it can be used 
without hitting the 
wood at the ends. The 
draw-knife can often 
be used to remove the 
wood, being followed 
by the plane. The 
plane can be used 
slantingly, so as to cut 

FIG. 485. 

nearer the ends, and a bull-nosed plane will cut nearer still, but 
the extreme ends will have to be trimmed to shape with the chisel 
or other tool. See also Bevelling andParing. 

Chisel. ^^firmer-chisel is meant for light hand-work, for 
paring off wood and trimming to shape, and can be used for light 
mortising, though the mortise-chisel is intended for that purpose. 

358 Wood-Working for Beginners 

It is often an advantage to have the long edges of such a chisel 
bevelled on the same side as the cutting basil, as it can be used 
more conveniently in some places. Taking off the corner of the 
basil when grinding, often answers the purpose. 

The framing-chisel is stouter than the firmer, has a stronger 

handle to stand heavy blows 
of the mallet, and is meant, 
as the name indicates, for 
framing, mortising, and other 
heavy work. 1 See Mortising. 
The straight-bent chisel is 
shaped as shown in Fig. 487, 
and is very useful for cleaning 

FIG. 486. FIG. 487. 

out corners, grooves, and other places where the common firmer- 
chisel cannot be used to advantage. 

A skew-chisel is simply ground slanting, instead of squarely 
across, and is useful for corners and odd work. See Carving 

There are other forms, seldom needed by the amateur, as the 
corner-chisel, which is used for cutting or paring angles and 

Those chisels and gouges which have the handles fitted into 
sockets at the upper end of the iron, instead of the iron being 
stuck into the handle, and with ferrules at the upper end where 
they are struck by the mallet are, of course, the strongest for 
heavy work, although the lighter handles are just as good for 
light work. 

Do not let your left hand get in front of the edge of the chisel 

1 Mortise-chisels with great thickness of blade (Fig. 486) are not likely to 
break, and the width of the sides bearing against the sides of the mortise tends 
to make the cutting more accurate, 

Tools and Operations 


while working, for the tool may slip and give you a bad cut, and 
in most cases the left hand should be kept on the lower part of 
the chisel to help control it, which is not easily done with one 
hand. In some cases, as in paring the edge of a piece directly 
downward towards the bench, it may be proper to hold the work 
with the left hand and use the chisel with the right; but as a 
rule, particularly for beginners, first see that the work is securely 
fastened or held from slipping by vise, clamp, or other expedient, 
and then keep the left hand on the chisel, which will steady and 
guide the tool, and, incidentally, prevent the hand from being 
cut. See Paring and Sharpening. 

Circular-plane. See Plane. 

Clamps. Long clamps (cabinet-clamps), shown in the ac- 
companying illustrations, are extremely useful in making glued 
joints and in various clamping operations. Many, of different 
lengths, are to be found in wood-working shops. Although much 
work can be accomplished without them, if you can afford a pair 
or more of medium 
length, or longer, they 
will be very useful. 
Wooden clamps will 
answer every purpose, 
although steel ones are 
better, but more ex- 

To clamp two o r 
more flat pieces to- 
gether, as in making a 
" glue-joint," or in 
clamping framework, 
as a door or picture- 
frame, lay the work across the horses, which should be so placed 
that their tops will be as nearly level, or in the same plane, as 
possible, and apply the clamps as shown in Fig. 488, always 


360 Wood-Working for Beginners 

putting pieces of waste wood between the edges of the work and 
the clamps. Place the clamps so that either the flat side of the bar 
or the corner, as shown, will lie against the surface of the work, 
thus keeping it from bending towards the bar when the screw is 
tightened. The number of clamps to be used must depend on 
the size of the work, but there is not usually much danger of an 
amateur's work being clamped too securely. 1 

If you have to glue a flexible strip, put a stiff piece outside be- 
tween it and the clamp to distribute the pressure. 

You will often find by sighting across the surface of the work 
as you tighten the clamps, particularly in the case of door-frames, 
picture-frames, and the like, that the surface is winding. When 
this happens, move one or more corners of the work up or down, 
as the case may be, in the clamps, and thus take out the winding. 
A little experimenting will show how to do this. In the case of 
framed work, such as doors or picture- frames, test the angles with 

1 You may be told that perfect joints do not require much clamping, but a 
perfect joint is impossible, and as a practical matter, only the skilled workman 
or the most accurate machinery can make even a good joint of much length, so 
great is the difficulty of avoiding little inaccuracies. Besides this, there is 
always the liability to more or less springing or change of shape on the part of 
the pieces. The joint which was good when you stopped planing may not be 
as good by the time the glue has set, particularly if the gluing does not imme- 
diately follow the jointing. In addition to this, the pressure from clamping at 
only one or two points, or at points too far apart, may force the joint to open 
elsewhere. Do not infer from this that even the beginner should be content 
with a poor joint, with the idea that it can be squeezed and jammed to a suffi- 
ciently good fit by applying muscle to the clamps. Of course this jamming or 
mashing of the fibres to fit occurs, to a microscopic degree, in even the best 
joint, and it can sometimes be done to a perceptible extent with soft wood, 
but to do this intentionally is very unworkmanlike, and the greatest care 
should be taken to make as good a joint as possible before gluing and applying 
the clamps. Do not, however, flatter yourself that you can make so accurate 
a joint that you can afford to neglect proper clamping, unless, in such cases 
as that shown in Fig. 488, you adopt the old-fashioned way of rubbing the two 
edges together and then leaving the rest to the glue, but this is not so good a 
process for the beginner, except with small pieces, such as corner-blocks (see 
Corner-blocks), See Jointing, 

Tools and Operations 361 

the square as soon as the joints are brought to a bearing. If the 
angles are not right, as will often be the case, move one end of 
either one or both of the clamps to the right or left, as the case 
may be, and you can easily change the angle until the square 
shows it to be right, when the screws can be tightened and the 
joints should close accurately. In clamping nearly all kinds of 
" case " work, such as bookcases, cabinets, boxes, and the like, 
these directions about moving the clamps until the angles are 
correct and the work free from winding are applicable. 

In such cases as that shown in Fig. 488, waste no time in trying 
to get the surfaces exactly flush with each other at the joint before 
partially tightening the clamps, lest the, glue become set. Any 
slight alteration can best then be made by tapping with the ham- 
mer near the joint, whenever either piece needs to be raised or 
lowered, putting a block under the hammer if the dent will not 
be removed by planing (see Gluing). The clamps can then be 
screwed tighter. 

In such cases as gluing the joints of a box, put stout blocks or 
cleats over the joints before tightening the clamps (Fig. 489), to 
distribute the pressure. This applies to all cases of clamping 

FIG. 489. FIG. 490. 

where the pieces to be glued are not heavy enough to resist the 
change of shape from the pressure of the clamps, and pieces of 
waste wood are almost always required in any case to prevent 
bruising of the work. 

You can contrive home-made clamps out of any strong pieces 
of wood of suitable length, by nailing or screwing a block at each 
end (Fig. 490), when the work can be tightly wedged to a close 

362 Wood-Working for Beginners 

bearing by driving home the double wedge shown, using, if 
necessary, one or more blocks, B, when you use the clamp for 
smaller work than that for which it was made. By keeping such 
clamps for future use, you will soon have enough to answer very 
well until you can afford to buy the regular cabinet-clamps. 

On the same principle, a simple clamp, derived from the Orient, 
can be made by boring a series of holes in two stout strips just 
as the holes are bored in the sides of a ladder, but nearer to- 
gether. The work to be glued is laid on one of these strips in the 
same way as shown in Fig. 490. The other strip is then placed 
directly above and stout pins put through corresponding holes 
outside of the work, which can then be wedged against the pins 
in the way just shown. 

Another way, which can be applied to many cases, is to put a 
stout cord, doubled, around the work, and inserting a stick be- 
tween the tfro parts of the string, turn it 
around until, trie doubled cord thus be- 
coming shortened, the 
parts of the work are 
drawn together. This can 
only be done where there 
is room to swing the stick 
around, as, for example, 
to tighten the rounds of a 
chair by drawing the legs 
together (Fig. 491). 

You can often apply pres- 
sure, when no more con- 
venient means are at hand, 
by making use of the elas- 

FIG. 491. 

FIG. 492. 

ticity of a board or pole. Suppose, for example, you need to 
press two blocks tightly together, as shown in Fig. 492. Place 
them on the bench or floor and spring in a board or pole between 
the top of the upper block and a beam of the floor above, as 
shown, Of course this board must be a little longer than merely 

Tools and Operations 


to reach between the two points, as it must be sprung into place 
bent, when in the effort to straighten itself out again it will cause 
pressure on the blocks. Pieces should be placed outside the 
blocks when scarring of the surface is to be avoided. The pres- 
sure can be applied in any direction, always supposing that you 
have something firm to press against. 

Pressure can often be obtained by a lever, and many applica- 
tions of the wedge will suggest themselves in your work. Even 
if you have a shopful of clamps and hand-screws and vises, these 
applications of the simple mechanical powers often come into 
play (see Fig. 390). See also page 71. 

Adjustable wood-carver's clamps can be bought for holding 
pieces in position on the bench, and are useful, but by no means 
necessary, as common clamps, or various devices, can be used. 

The small iron clamps which can be used in place of hand- 
screws are very useful. 

For other suggestions about clamping, see Hand-screws. 

Cleating. A simple way to join two or more pieces of board 
or plank to make a wider piece is 
to cleat them. If short, they can 
be cleated across the ends. This 
can also be done to keep a single 
board from warping (Fig. 493). 
Such a cleat should not be glued 
unless the width is very slight, on 
account of the expansion and con- 
traction across the board being so 
much greater than that lengthways 
of the cleat (see pages 50-53). 
Screws (which are best), nails, or 
dowels should be used, as they will 
give some play to the pieces. A 
groove can also be made in the cleat, into which a tongue on the 
end of the board is fitted. Grooves can be cut in both cleat and 

FIG. 493. 

FIG. 494. 

364 Wood- Working for Beginners 

board and a tongue or spline inserted (Fig. 494). These are 
operations best done by machinery. This end-cleating does 
very well on small work and where the tendency to warp is not 
too great. For heavier work, as doors, cleats on the side are 
better, but they are sometimes in the way, and not always desir- 
able on the ground of looks. This is a strong way. Side cleats 
should be fastened with screws (see Screws) or clinched nails (see 
Nailing), but not with glue, for the same reason as in the case of 
end cleats. If the cleat is wide enough, do not put the screws in 
a straight line, but "alternate" them (Fig. 368). See Jointing 
and Doors and Panels. 

Clinching-Nails. See Nailing. 

Compasses. Wing compasses, or those with arc and set- 
screw, are easy to adjust accurately and will not slip, but, what- 
ever kind you get, be sure that the points stay where you put 
them and do not spring away or wobble around. 

The chief uses of this tool are to strike circles, to lay off angles 
and arcs, to take off measurements from a rule or some object, 
to lay off measurements, and to " scribe " in places where a gauge 
can not be used (see Scribing). In using compasses, particularly 
those which are not set by a screw, hold them and swing them 
around by the top at the hinged joint, rather than grasp them 
near the points, which may cause them to move or slip. 

Circles or circular arcs can be struck roughly, as you doubt- 
^ less know, with a string 

IN. jt and a nail at the centre, 

^ ~^~~^~ IZJLX the string being loose 

around the nail. This 
\ method is not very ac- 
curate, for obvious 
reasons, and is only suit- 
able for rough work. A 

more accurate way is to drive two nails through a strip of wood at a 
distance apart just equal to the radius of the required circle, one 


Tools and Operations 


nail being driven into the wood to act as the centre, the other 
doing the marking (Fig. 495). Instead of the marking nail a 
hole can be bored for a pencil. You can use a stick of this sort 
repeatedly by changing the position of the centre nail, or of the 
marking point. The same can be done with a brad or stout pin 
and a pencil, using stiff paper, card-board, or zinc instead of a 
stick. By such expedients you can do a great deal of work with- 
out buying compasses. 

Compass-Saw. See Saw. 

Corner-Blocks. These are merely small pieces of pine, or 
other wood which holds glue well, with two adjacent surfaces at 
right angles. Hot glue is applied 
to them and they are rubbed into 
interior angles of cabinet-work, to 
strengthen and stiffen the work 
(Fig. 496), and are very useful for 
this purpose. They are got out in 
short pieces, lengthways of the 
grain, and can be freely used in 
places where they will not show, as 

inside of the base-board in Fig. 304. The shape can be varied 
according to the conditions of the joint. Apply hot glue plenti- 
fully, place the block where it is to go, and rub it back and forth 
several times, when it can be left for the glue to dry. 

Corner-Chisel. See Chisel. 

Countersink. This tool, to be used with the bit-brace, for 
enlarging the outer part of a hole, thus forming 
I? a cavity or depression for receiving the head of a 

screw (Fig. 497), is quite important, as being 
IG. 497. muc h more convenient than to use gouge, chisel, 
or knife for the purpose. See page 205. 

The rose form of countersink is common and good. The Clark 
double - cut countersink (for wood only) cuts smoothly and is 
easily sharpened. A countersink for metal is useful. 

FIG. 496. 

366 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Cracks, To Stop. See Holes, To Stop. 
Cross-Cut Saw. See Saw. 

Cutting-Pliers. A pair of these will often be useful in con- 
nection with wood-working operations. 

Dents, To Take Out. See Bruises. 
Dividers. See Compasses. 

Doors and Panels. It is important to have some under- 
standing of the theory of framing panels, doors, and the like. 
The simplest form of door is, of course, a piece of board. This 
will do for some cases, but it is liable to warp or wind, if a 
large door, sometimes to such a degree as to be useless. It is 
also, if large, liable to swell or shrink so as to be either too loose 
or too tight, and to break. Cleating can be resorted to (see 
dealing), but will not prevent the swelling and shrinking, nor is 
a cleated door especially ornamental. Besides, there are limits 
to the width of ordinary boards. Several boards can, however, 
be joined, edge to edge, and cleated on one side, in which way a 
large door can be made (Fig. 405), and, if the boards are not 
fitted too closely together, there may be no trouble caused by the 
swelling and shrinking. Another way to make a very strong door 
is to make it of two thicknesses, or layers, one running up and 
down and the other crossways, or diagonally, the two thicknesses 
being firmly nailed or screwed together. 

All such arrangements are, however, suited for the rougher 
class of work. When we come to nicer work we must have some- 
thing more scientific, that will swell and shrink as little as possible 
and that will look better. So, instead of using a broad flat surface 
with the boards all running one way, we try to overcome the faults 
of the flat door by framing the pieces together. Suppose, for a 
theoretical case, that you make a door like Fig. 498. It will not 
warp or curl because of the cleats at the top and bottom, but it 
will swell and shrink in width because there is such a wide sur- 
face of board to be affected by the atmosphere, etc., and it may 

Tools and Operations 


become winding. To lessen these objections the middle part of 
the board can be removed all but a strip at each edge (Fig. 
499). It will not now swell and shrink much in width because 

FIG. 498. 

Fm. 499. 

FIG. 500. 

most of the board has been removed. This frame will hold its 
shape quite well, but it is only a frame, not a door. How can 
you fill up this open frame to make a door, so as to avoid the 
trouble about warping, winding, swelling, and shrinking ? First, 
however, as this frame is considerably taller than it is wide, you 

FIG. 501. 

FIG. 502. 

FIG. 503. 

will readily see that it will be a better arrangement to make it as 
shown in Fig. 500, with the cross-pieces between the uprights, 
according to the usual custom in such cases. Suppose, now, that 
you fill up the open space with a thin board, fastened on one side 
(Fig. 501), instead of the thick wood which occupied the space 

368 Wood-Working for Beginners 

at first. The thin board will tend to warp and twist, but, being 
thin, it will not exert force enough to change the shape of the 
thick frame. That will prevent the warping and winding from 
doing much harm. If the screw-holes in this thin piece are 
reasonably loose, they will allow play enough for the board to 
expand and contract without putting any strain on the frame. 
This arrangement does not, however, look very nice on the side 
to which the board is screwed, though it can be used in some 
situations. Suppose, finally, that you cut a groove around the 
inside edge of the frame of the door (Fig. 502) into which this 
thin board can be fitted loosely, making the groove deep enough 
to give the board room to shrink and swell in width without drop- 
ping out or pushing against the frame. You now have a com- 
plete door (Fig. 503), and the warping, winding, swelling, and 
shrinking will do as little harm as possible. That is all there is 
to the theory of framing doors, panels, and the like. 

The panel should fit closely into the groove, but at the same 
time be loose enough to slide in and out 
as it expands and contracts, and should 
not be wide enough to reach to the bot- 
tom of the grooves, but room be left for 
all possible change in width, as shown 
in Fig. 504, which shows sections on the 
line AB. All this is important and has 
many applications to other things than 
doors. It is not very uncommon for 
amateurs, ignorant of these simple prin- 
ciples, to make a door-frame properly, 
but in fitting the panel to make it the 
full width of the space from the bottom 
of one groove to the bottom of the op- 
posite, and also to make it such a snug 
FIG. 504. t j n the g roove as to k e s t u ck tight, all 

with the idea of making such a good fit as to prevent any of the 
gaping cracks so often seen, but really taking the very course to 


Tools and Operations 369 

ruin the work. So important is it that the panel should have 
play, that it is quite common in nice work to rub wax or tallow 
around the edge of the panel, lest some of the glue from the 
joints of the frame should cause it to stick when the frame is 
glued up. If the panel is badly fitted or stuck, it may buckle 
or split, or the frame be split or forced apart at the joints. 

There are many more elaborate ways of arranging the details 
of door-framing and panelling (too numerous to be described 
here, as they will not often be required by the beginner); but if 
you understand the general principles upon which this simple 
door is put together, you will understand the principles upon 
which all panelling is based; and, though you may never do 
much of it, it is quite important to have a clear understanding 
of the theory, which is really quite simple for it has many 
applications which may save you much trouble, labour, and 

The best way to fasten the frame of a door together is by mor- 
tise and tenon (see Mortising]. This method is almost invariably 
adopted for house doors. Dowelling is often used for smaller 
doors, but is inferior to the mortise and tenon. 

A common way nowadays to make light doors, and such as are 
not to be subjected to much strain, is to run the grooves in the 
stiles through to the ends and cut tongues or short tenons on the 
ends of the rails to fit these grooves, as shown in Figs. 508 and 
509. The whole door, panel and all, can thus be quickly got out 
and fitted accurately with a circular saw at any wood-working mill, 
without any hand-work being required, except the smoothing of 
the pieces and the putting together. In this way you can have 
a door made for a small sum, smoothing and putting it together 
yourself. Such a door is not fitted, however, to stand great 
strain. A house door made in that way would last but a short 
time. Any heavy door, or one to have much strain, or liable to 
be slammed, should be framed with mortise and tenon. You 
can have grooving for a door-frame done at the mill very cheaply 
and do the mortising yourself, or you can have the mortising done 

37 Wood- Working for Beginners 

by machine at slight expense. Sometimes the grooving and mor- 
tising are combined, an excellent way (Fig. 592). 

In using any of these methods mark distinctly one side of each 
piece for the " face " and lay out all the work from that side 
only. If the job is to be taken to a mill, see that the work is all 
gauged from the face side. 

In laying out such work never cut off 
the stiles (Fig. 505) to length at first. 
Leave them too long (Fig. 507). The pro- 
jecting ends will be useful when you knock 
the frame apart for gluing, after first put- 
ting it together to see if everything fits. 
Besides, the 
extra length 
makes the 

ends stronger 
FIG. 505. for the mor , FlG 5o6 . 

tising and less likely to split out. The rails in door-framing and 

panelling are usually wider than the stiles. 

In laying out a door or panelled frame, place the stiles together, 

with the inside edges uppermost, and square lines across the 

edges to mark the positions for the rails (Fig. 506). Carry these 
lines across the faces of the stiles, and mark 
the rails and stiles with some symbols to in- 
dicate the way they are to be fitted together 
(Fig. 507). 

The whole should be put together once 
to see that everything is right before be- 
ginning to glue. Before putting together 
permanently, the panel and the inside edges 
of the frame (the edges which come next 
the panel) must first be planed and 

smoothed, as this cannot well be done after- 
FIG. 507. 


Then fit the panel in the grooves of the rails (Fig. 508), glue 

Tools and Operations 

the tenons of one end of the rails and the grooves or mortises of 
the corresponding stile (see Gluing), taking care not to put any 
glue where it may cause the panel to stick, and fit these parts 
into place (Fig. 509). Drive the rails home. 
Then glue and fit the other side of the frame 
in the same way (Fig. 510) all being done as 
quickly as pos- 
sible. Finally 
clamp the frame 
securely (see 
Clamps). The 
t on gu ed and 
grooved joint 
FIG. 508. represented i n 

the accompanying illustrations is not as good as a mortise and 
tenon, as already stated, but is shown as a simple way for making 
a light door. Leave the work to dry, and when dry remove the 
clamps. Saw off the ends of the stiles, and dress off the surface 
of the frame with the plane (see Plane), after which you can 
smooth with scraper (see Scraper) and sandpaper (see Sand- 
paper), and the door or panel will be done. When there is ob- 
jection to the end of a tenon showing on the outside edge of the 

stile, and a blind mortise is not de- 
sired (see Mortising), the end of the 
tenon can be cut a little short and 
the mortise-hole on the 
edge plugged with a piece 
of wood, with the grain 
running the same way as 
that of the stile. Fit the 
piece w j th a very trifling FlGl 5U - 
bevel on the edges, glue, drive tightly into place, and when dry 
smooth off (Fig. 511). 

It is hardly worth while to work out the grooving or grooved 
and tongued joints by hand in these days when it can be so 

FlG - 

372 Wood- Working for Beginners 

cheaply done by machinery. If obliged to do it by hand, you 
should have the proper plane for the purpose, as it will be very 
difficult and slow work otherwise. 

A panel is sometimes made flush with either side of the frame, 
by having a deep rabbet on that side, as in the case of a desk lid, 
for instance, but this is a form which can well be avoided by the 

Dovetailing. This is an operation requiring considerable 
skill to do well and, with the exception of an occasional single 
dovetail, is not frequently required in the work of the beginner. 
It is, however, a valuable, workmanlike accomplishment and a 
thoroughly scientific method, of which the amateur should have 
some understanding, even if he should never use it. 

The common form, such as is used in joining the sides of a box 
(Fig. 512), can be done as follows: Mark the lines ab (Fig. 513) 
completely around each piece, at a distance from the end equal to 
the thickness of the stock. Lay off the lines cd on the end of the 

FIG. 512. 

FIG. 513. 

piece A. Lay off the oblique lines ec on both sides of the piece. 
With the back-saw cut by these oblique lines (ec] to the lines ab. 
Fasten the piece in the vise, end upward, for the sawing. With 
the chisel, cut out the parts to be removed (marked i), as in cut- 
ting a mortise (see Mortising), undercutting very slightly at the 
end (Fig. 302). When this cutting has been cleanly done, lay 

Tools and Operations 

FIG. 514. 

the piece A on the end of the piece B in the way it is finally to 
go, so that the pins just cut will rest exactly in position across 
the end of the piece B. Mark around the pins, forming the 
oblique lines fg, from the ends of 
which square the lines gh on both 
sides of the piece. Remove the 
wood as before, taking care not to 
cut on the wrong sides of the lines 
which mark the pins, or the dovetail- 
ing may come together too loosely. 
When exactly fitted, apply glue, fit 
together, and when dry smooth off 
with plane, scraper, and sandpaper, 
as may be required. 

Lap or drawer dovetailing (Fig. 514) is similar to the preced- 
ing form, but the ends of the pins or dovetails on the piece form- 
ing the side of the drawer are shortened, and the recesses in the 
front piece which are to receive them are not cut through. First 
the side piece A (Fig. 515) is marked and cut on the principle 

just shown, the pins 
being shorter; then 
the piece B is marked 
and cut to fit. 

Practised workmen 
in dovetailing usually 
(unless symmetry of 
the pins is required) 
determine the bevels 
for the pins of the first 

piece by eye, but the 
beginner would best 



FIG. 515. 
not attempt to lay off angles or saw by eye. 

Mitre dovetailing (blind or secret dovetailing) is used in cases 
where it is desired to conceal the dovetails, the result looking like 
an ordinary mitred joint, but this is difficult work for the beginner. 

374 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Dovetail Saw. See Saw (Sack-Saw). 

Dowelling. Dowels are merely round sticks of different 
diameters and usually of hard wood. They can be bought ready 
made and can be used instead of nails or screws, or instead of 
mortising, dovetailing, etc. They can be used simply as pins or 
in many cases can be split and wedged, though the holes must be 
tapered with a gouge if wedges of much 
thickness are to be used (Fig. 516). 

A common use of dowels is to fasten the 
frames of tables, chairs, bedsteads, and vari- 
ous domestic articles. 

The use of dowels for such purposes is not 
FIG. 516. to be recommended, however, although very 

common in cheap work and in much work 
which is not cheap in price. The mortise and tenon is 
usually much to be preferred. Dowelling, to be really good, has 
to be skilfully done, while it is a very common way to stick the 
work together in any manner that will look right on the outside. 
A dowelled joint is not, as a rule, as scientific a form of con- 
struction as a well-planned mortise and tenon, a statement 
which you can easily prove for yourself by comparing some 
article of your grandmother's or great-grandmother's time, and 
which is still strong, with some modern dowelled chair, which is 
in so many cases all to pieces and thrown on the woodpile after 
a short term of service. The gaping joints and dropping apart 
of modern dowelled work can be seen on every hand. There 
are some cases, however, where the use of dowels is scientific 
and just what is required. For example, split dowels, wedged 
dovetail fashion like wedged tenons, are often very useful (see 

To find the centres for boring, so that the holes bored in the 
two pieces shall be in line, you can cut off the heads of some 
small wire brads so that they will be pointed at both ends. Stick 
the brads into one piece where the centres of the holes should 

Tools and Operations 


be Then press this piece against the other in the position it is 
to take when the work is done and the brads will of course prick 
holes in the second piece exactly corresponding to those in the 
first piece (Fig. 5 17). Instead of brads, 
small shot can be used in a similar man- 
ner. It is well to take a round-pointed 
awl, or some such tool, and carefully 
prick a small hole with it at each of the 
points marked. This is to start the 
spur of the bit exactly at the point, as 
the spur sometimes has a way of work- 
ing off to one side, so that the hole may 
not be in exactly the right place. The 
hardest part, however, is to bore the 
holes exactly at right angles to the sur- 
face, as a slight deviation in either or 
both may make a bad angle where the 
two holes meet. You can sometimes 
lay the pieces flat on the bench and ar- 
range boards or blocks so as to guide the 
bit straight. The dowels must be thoroughly dry. It is better 
to have them a trifle too large, rather than too small, for you can 
easily trim them down to a snug fit. Scratch them lengthways 
with the toothed-plane, or with the edge of a file. Countersink 

a little hollow around 
the opening of each 
hole (see Counter- 
sink}, to catch the sur- 
plus glue which would 
otherwise form a rim 
around the dowel 
(Fig. 517). Before 

FIG. 517. 

FIG. 518. 

gluing you should fit the work together once, as it is very awkward 
to make changes after the gluing is begun. When the parts fit ac- 
curately, take the joint apart for gluing. Brush a little glue around 

376 Wood- Working for Beginners 

the inside of one of the holes, dip one end of a dowel in the glue 
and drive into place. Wipe off the superfluous glue and repeat 
the process with each of the dowels in that half of the joint. 
Leave this to dry a day, or more if you can. Then clean any 
hardened glue from the dowels and glue them, as before, into 
the other piece, this time putting glue on the flat surfaces which 
are to come together. The whole should be firmly clamped and 
left to dry (see Gluing and Clamps). Dowels are sometimes used 
in joining the edges of pieces, as in Fig. 518, and in many other 
joints too numerous to be specified (see Joints and pointing). 

Dowelling looks very easy, but it is usually hard for the be- 
ginner to bore the holes straight and to make the pieces fit 

Dowel-Plate. A steel plate with various holes of such sizes 
that pins made by driving blocks of wood through them will 
drive snugly into the holes made by the corresponding bits. This 
is useful in fitting dowels. 

Drawers. The making of well-fitting and smoothly running 
drawers is an operation requiring much skill more skill than 
can be expected of the beginner, or, in fact, than is attained by 
the average workman. The beginner should, however, have some 
understanding of the work, even if he does not attain a high de- 
gree of skill in its execution. 

Bear in mind that it is much easier to make a drawer which is 
narrow and long (from front to back) run smoothly than one 
which is wide across the front, but shallow from front to back. 

The more accurately the case which holds the drawers is made, 
the easier it is to make smoothly running drawers. In good work 
having more than one drawer, a horizontal frame is fitted beneath 
each drawer for it to run on. These frames, as well as the whole 
case, should be free from winding, and it is also important that 
the stock for the drawers should be true. The front and sides 
of a drawer should be got out to fit very snugly in their places. 
The piece for the back is narrower than the front piece, to allow 

Tools and Operations 


for the bottom (Fig. 521), and is often cut off at the top also. 

The front, sides, and back can be put together with any suitable 

form of joint. Dovetailing is by far the best way, but it is diffi- 

c u 1 1 for the beginner 

(see Dovetailing). The 

joints shown in Fig. 519 

can very well be used for 

ordinary work. These 

can be quickly made by 

machinery (see 

Joints]. See also Glu- 
ing and Clamps. 

A groove for the 

bottom must be cut on 

the inside of the front 

and of the sides (Fig. 

520). The insides of 

the pieces must be 

smoothed before putting 

the drawer together. When these parts are fitted, slip the bot- 
tom (previously fi 1 1 e d ) 
into place. It should be got 
out with the grain running 
across the drawer, or parallel 
with the front (Fig. 521), 
and should be glued at the 
front edge only, the rest be- 
ing free to swell and shrink, 
lli^ll^JlPI which saves the drawer from 

Be sure that the drawer is 
rectangular (putting in the 
FlG - 52i. bottom will assist in this) and 

free from winding. When put together and dry, carefully 

smooth the front and the sides. A little trimming with the 

37 8 Wood- Working for Beginners 

plane may be required to make the drawer run freely, but care 
should be taken not to plane away too much. A drawer which 
is a trifle larger at the back than at the front will run better than 
if larger in front, as it will be less likely to bind or catch. Small 
slides, between which the drawer runs, are fastened at each side 
outside the drawer, at the bottom, and must be adjusted carefully. 

Thin blocks or " stops " can be fastened on the cross-frame so 
that the inside of the drawer front will strike against them when 
the drawer has been pushed in as far as it should go, or the 
drawer can be stopped at the back. 

A simple way to attach a drawer under a shelf, bench, or table 
is shown in Fig. 143. The contrivance shown in Figs. 141 and 
142 can sometimes be used in place of small drawers. 

Bayberry tallow is excellent to rub on the sides of drawers. 

Draw-Knife or Draw-Shave. The draw-knife or draw- 
shave is very useful for slicing off large pieces and for trimming 

FIG. 522. 

FIG. 523. 

wood into odd shapes. It can be obtained with folding handles, 
adjustable at different angles, for use in places which can not be 
reached by the blade of the old-fashioned draw-knife; but the 
latter is good enough for all ordinary purposes, Choose a 

Tools and Operations 379 

medium-sized or large one. It is in principle simply a knife or 
very wide and short-bladed chisel with a handle at each end, and 
can be used with the flat side or the bevel against the wood as 
the character of the work may require. Having but a short 
bearing surface to guide its course, it is very prone to follow the 
grain and cut deeper than you wish, so you must take special 
pains to cut with the grain, stopping and cutting the other way, 
whenever necessary. Attachments can be bought for guiding 
the draw-knife in chamfering and such cases. 

The draw-knife can often be best used with an oblique stroke 
either drawing it sideways across the work at the same time that 
you pull it towards you (Fig. 522), or holding it obliquely across 
the work and pulling it straight towards you (Fig. 523). 

It is one of the most dangerous tools if carelessly left lying 
around, and should be kept hung up out of reach of all small 
children. See Paring, Bevelling, and Chamfering. 

Draw-Shave. See Draw-knife. 

Drill. Drills for metal only are often useful to the wood- 
worker, but the one most important for the amateur is the twist- 
drill. See Twist-drill. 

Drill-Stock. There are various patterns of drill-stocks, some 
of them automatic, for holding drills of different sizes for small 
holes. Hand drills with revolving handle, like an egg-beater, 
can be used for small drills. See Bit-brace. 

Duck's-bill-Bit See Bits. 

Expansion-Bit. See Bits. 

File. 'The file is a piece of hard steel with rows of ridges or 
teeth cut obliquely on the surface. When cut in one direction 
only it is called sing/e-cut, but when there are two oblique rows 
of teeth crossing each other it is called double-cut. These ridges 
incline towards the end or point of the tool, so that the file, like 
the saw, plane, and scraper, cuts when pushed forward. Files 
for wood have wider teeth than those for metal, so do not use a 

380 Wood-Working for Beginners 

wood file on metal or a metal file for wood. The slab-sided 
shape (Fig. 524) is perhaps the most useful, if you can have but 
one file. A round " rat-tailed " file is also useful, and various 
other shapes if you can have a variety. For rnetal, the triangu- 

FIG. 524. 

FIG. 525. 

lar, flat, the half-round, shown in Fig. 525, and the rat-tail are 
best. Files are very important for smoothing or rounding edges 
and curving surfaces. 

Before beginning to file, be sure that the wood is firmly secured 
so that it will not slip and so that you can use the file with both 
hands. Hold the tool with the right hand, thumb uppermost, 
and steady the end with the left hand, thumb uppermost (Fig. 

S 2 6), or with the fingers or palm. 
To file squarely across, push 
the tool steadily and evenly 
straight forward, without rocking 
up and down, and pressing only 
on the forward stroke. 

In filing rounded surfaces, a 
rocking motion is often helpful 
and the way and direction in 
which to file in such cases must de- 
pend upon the shape of the work 
and the grain of the wood, as you 
will quickly learn. See Rounding- 

Press lightly the first time you 
use a new file, until the fine edges 
of the teeth have been worn a 
little, as a violent filing on the first strokes may damage the cutting 
edges of the teeth. 

FIG. 526. 

Tools and Operations 381 

When a file becomes clogged with wood-dust or other sub- 
stances, soak it in hot water a little while and then brush with a 
stiff brush. A file-card is useful. A piece of dog-fish skin, if 
you can obtain it, cuts somewhat like a file or coarse sandpaper, 
and is useful for curved surfaces where you wish to use the tools 
after smoothing. 

Filing. See File. 

Filing (of Saws). See Sharpening. 

Finishing. To acquire a high degree of proficiency in finish- 
ing indoor woodwork requires long training and practice, but the 
simpler processes can be undertaken to good advantage by the 

There are a number of ways from which to choose. Simply 
rubbing thoroughly with linseed oil gives a good, soft, permanent 
finish, which some prefer to anything else, but you should be sure 
that all superfluous oil is rubbed off. Do not hang a recently 
oiled book-shelf or cabinet against the wall-paper of the room, for 
fear of defacing it. An oil finish, unless rubbed a good deal, has 
the disadvantage of getting soiled and collecting dust and dirt, 
but it is easily sandpapered and renewed and is certainly in bet- 
ter taste than a coarse, shiny, cheap varnish. 

An old-fashioned way is simply to apply a mixture of turpen- 
tine and beeswax, rubbing it as long as your strength and patience 
will allow. Melt some beeswax in a can or saucepan and, when 
melted and taken from the stove, pour in enough turpentine to 
make it the consistency of paste. Then apply with a brush or 
cloth and rub in and clean off the excess with a stiff brush or 
cloth, scrubbing the work as you would a stove. This makes a 
beautiful finish, soft and lustrous. It shows spots, however, and, 
though it is so easily applied, it requires continual renewing and 
rubbing to be kept in good condition. 

To make a hard and durable coating on the surface of the 
wood some kind of varnish is required. There is nothing better 

382 Wood-Working for Beginners 

than shellac for the purpose of the amateur. It is not very hard 
to use, and there is certainly nothing which gives a finish of nicer 
quality. The surface dries quickly and the coat hardens more 
rapidly than most kinds of varnish. For some cases, as a boat, 
it is well to shellac first and finish with good varnish.' Shellac is 
cut (dissolved) in alcohol, and can be bought prepared, but it 
is better to cut it yourself, to diminish the chance of adulteration 
with cheaper substances. Orange shellac will do for most of your 
work. Into an open-mouthed bottle put some of the shellac 
^ which comes in flakes and looks somewhat like glue) and pour 
over it enough grain alcohol (95 per cent, grade) to somewhat 
more than cover the shellac. Cork the bottle and leave in a 
warm place until the shellac is cut. Shaking will hasten the 
process. Wood alcohol can be used and is cheaper, but work 
done with it is not so good. It is a deadly poison taken in- 
ternally and on account of the fumes it is best not to use it for a 
long time in a close room. If the tawny tint of the orange 
shellac is objectionable, white (bleached) shellac can be used, 
but this it is well to buy already prepared. It is a little harder 
to use than the coloured kind. 

Use a flat bristle-brush and not a soft camel's-hair brush, unless 
for the last coat. One from one inch to two inches wide will be 
probably suitable for most of your work. For large surfaces, 
however, a larger brush is better. After using, always clean the 
brush thoroughly with alcohol. 

Always shellac in a warm, dry place, free from dust never 
where it is cold and damp ; but on the other hand do not leave 
the work close to a hot stove or it may blister. 

The shellac should be quite thin. It should flow very freely 
from the brush. Of the two extremes, it is better to have it too 
thin rather than too thick. Three or four thin coats give a much 

1 Shellac is, strictly speaking, a kind of varnish, but it is so different from 
many kinds of varnish in common use that it is quite commonly spoken of as 
shellac, in contradistinction from what is popularly known as varnish, and the 
term is so used here. 

Tools and Operations 383 

better result than two coats of thick, gummy shellac. Never try 
to thin it with anything but alcohol. Keep the bottle corked to 
prevent evaporation of the alcohol and to keep out the dust. 

Before beginning to shellac, see that the work is free from 
dust. Pour a small quantity of the shellac into a small dish of 
glass or earthenware, not of tin. Before applying to the wood, 
wipe the surplus shellac from the brush on the edge of the dish, 
so that it will not drip, and then lay on the coat as evenly and 
smoothly as possible, working from the top or from one end or 
side, and with the grain, so far as possible. 1 Do not apply the 
brush at first exactly at the edge of the surface, lest the shellac 
collect too thickly at the edge, but apply the brush first a little 
way on the surface and then work from the edge. Work quickly 
and lightly. Begin and end the strokes of the brush gradually 
lighten them at the end so as to avoid a " lap " when the 
strokes begin again. Do not work over the coat after it has be- 
gun to set or try to patch up spots. Simply lay it on as well as 
you can and let it go at that. If it is not right you will know 
how to do better next time. 

Give each coat plenty of time to harden before applying 
another twenty-four hours is none too long. Do not put on five 
or six coats in a day as is sometimes done. The outer coat 
hinders the drying of the shellac underneath, by keeping the air 
from it, just as with paints, and the way to do durable work 
is not to put on a fresh coat until the previous one is thoroughly 
dry and hard. Shellac dries very quickly so that you can touch 
it, but does not get really hard throughout for some time, so do 
not be in haste to put on a second coat.* 

1 In shellacing doors or panel work, first shellac the panels, then the rails, 
and finally the styles (see Fig. 505), because daubs or runs can be wiped off 
and covered better when you thus follow the construction of the work. 

2 As an extreme illustration, it may be interesting to note the way the best 
lacquer work (which is so durable) is made by the Japanese, an article being 
given, as Professor Morse tells us, one coat a year, the finest work having 
twenty-one coats and the artist rowing out to sea for miles each time to make 
sure that all dust is avoided. 

384 Wood-Working for Beginners 

If there are holes, cracks, or defects of any kind to be filled 
up, this is the time to do it after the first coat is hard. One 
way to do this is to hold a hot iron close to a piece of shellac 
directly over the hole, which will be filled with the melted shellac. 
The surplus can be carefully pared off after it is hard. Another 
way is to use wax coloured to match the wood. The wax can 
easily be coloured by melting and adding a small quantity of 
whatever dry colour burnt umber, for instance may be re- 
quired. Do not use putty in such cases. 

When the first coat is hard, skim over the surface with very 
fine sandpaper (oo), to remove any roughnesses, and apply the 
second coat. This is sometimes sufficient. If not, sandpaper 
and shellac again, and a fourth time if necessary. When you 
have a sufficient " body " of shellac on the wood, you can much 
improve the quality of the surface by rubbing it down with pow- 
dered pumice-stone and oil, which will remove the " shiny " effect 
and leave a softer and finer surface. To do this, take a bit of 
felt or haircloth, and wet it with thin oil (kerosene will do, or 
petroleum, or linseed oil thinned with turpentine or benzine, but 
the latter is dangerous to have around), take up a little of the 
pumice, and carefully and evenly rub over the surface, with the 
grain, renewing the oil and pumice as may be needed, or they 
can be sprinkled on the work. But be careful to rub evenly and 
not too long on any one spot, for it will be hard to repair the 
damage if you should rub through to the wood. Wipe the whole 
off thoroughly with soft cloth. This process will be sufficient for 
most amateur work. For some work simply rubbing down with 
the finest sandpaper wet with oil is enough. In using sandpapei 
for rubbing down nice work, split it that is, remove the outer 
layer of paper, which will leave the sanded layer thin and pliable 
and less likely to scratch or rub through the finish. A handful 
of tightly squeezed curled hair can be used. 

If varnish is to be used over the shellac as in case of a boat, 
simply sandpaper the shellac and do not rub with pumice and oil. 

With fine-grained wood, such as cherry, the process given 

Tools and Operations 385 

above is all that will be required, but with coarse, open-grained 
wood, like oak, a good many coats will be needed to fill the pores 
and give a smooth surface. Therefore a " filler " is often used 
to fill the pores of the grain. This is cheap and can be bought 
in the form of paste (either light or dark), which you can apply 
according to the directions on the can. Rub it into the wood 
thoroughly, let it stand until it begins to set, or stiffen, then rub it 
off with a bit of burlap or any coarse material, across the grain (lest 
you wipe it out of the pores). After it has become hard enough, 
sandpaper, and clean off any that may remain on the surface. 
Then shellac as described. The filler can have the shade of the 
wood, or sometimes, as in oak, the figure of the grain can be 
brought out finely by using a filler somewhat darker than the hue 
of the wood. Be sure to clean off the filler thoroughly, using a 
tool lo clean out the angles and corners, or the finished surface 
will have a cloudy or muddy appearance. 

The general directions given for shellacing apply also to the 
use of varnish, but varnishing is in some respects harder for the 
amateur to do well. Consult the dealer about the kind of varnish 
and the brush best suited to the particular piece of work you have 
in hand. The final coat of varnish can be rubbed down with 
pumice or tripoli and water. Rotten-stone used with oil (petro- 
leum is good) is excellent for giving a soft polish. 

French polishing is often attempted by the amateur, but it 
should be learned by taking a lesson from a practical polisher, 
and not from a book. The general idea of the process is as 
follows: A wad or pad of wool is made and on this is poured 
thin shellac, adding whatever alcohol may be necessary. This 
wet pad is then covered with a piece of clean linen, a drop of oil 
put on the outside to prevent the shellac from sticking, and the 
pad is then quickly passed over the surface with a circular motion, 
or with longer strokes in the form of the figure 8, or in some 
cases simply back and forth. After doing this for a while a very 
thin coat will have been deposited. This is allowed to dry for a 
short time, when the process is repeated, again and again, until a 

386 Wood- Working for Beginners 

sufficient body of the polished finish has been formed. The de- 
tails of the process vary with different finishers. It is quite easy 
to polish a small flat surface or such an object as the arm of a 
chair, but it is much harder for an amateur to successfully polish 
a large flat surface, like a table-top, except after much practice. 
A first coating of shellac applied with the brush and skimmed 
over with sandpaper will save labour in the polishing process. 

Before refinishing old work it should, if the surface is in bad 
condition, be scraped down to the wood, using the scraper and 
finishing with sandpaper. A chisel (used like the scraper) is 
sometimes convenient to remove a thick body of old varnish. If 
the surface does not need scraping, it should be cleaned, either 
by washing with soapsuds or it can be scrubbed clean with the 
finest sandpaper, split, using oil or water as the case may be, but 
seeing that the work is wiped off perfectly dry before applying a 
new coat. Pumice can be used, as already described, and a stiff 
brush, like a nail- or tooth-brush, is excellent for cleaning out 
corners and carved work. 

For simply brightening and cleaning furniture, a mixture of 
equal parts of linseed oil and turpentine with a minute quantity 
of japan is excellent. It should be well rubbed and carefully 
cleaned off. This will make scratches and bruises less con- 
spicuous, and will make the article look fresher for a time, but 
it is only a cleaner and not a substitute for refinishing. 

Firmer-Chisel. See Chisel. 
Fore-Plane. See Plane. 
Framing-Chisel. See Chisel. 

Gauge. There are many kinds of gauges in the market, but 
they all depend on the same principle, having a block, head, 
stock, or fence, to slide along against the edge of the wood, and 
a bar, beam, or stem, which slides through the block, can be set 
to project from it at any required distance, and which has near 
its end a spur or marking point (Fig. 533). The stem has the 
divisions of a rule marked upon it, so that the spur can be readily 

Tools and Operations 387 

set at the required distance. In some gauges the spur or marking 
point is sharpened to an edge parallel with the head, rather 
than to a point, as it is more certain to make a clear, sharp line, 
and is best when slightly convex on the side toward the head 
(Fig. 527). This gives the spur a tendency to run the line away 
from and not toward the edge where the 
head is, thus helping to keep the head 
close up to the edge. Sometimes a round 
point is used, and occasionally a knife 
point or blade for cutting thin stock into 

strips ; and sometimes a wheel with sharp- p IG 527 

ened edge. A form of gauge adapted for 
gauging from curved as well as straight edges is also made. Do 
not trust the accuracy of the scale marked on a common gauge, 
for if the spur is at all out of place, as is sometimes the case, 
you cannot rely upon the scale. Test by measuring from the 
head to the spur with the rule. 

The mortise-gauge has two spurs, one of which is movable and 
can be set at any required distance from the other, so that two 
lines can be marked at once, as for a mortise. This is a time-sav- 
ing tool, and very convenient,but not a necessity for amateur work. 

There are gauges with long beams or stems and with long 
heads for gauging across wide spaces, but when you need any- 
thing of the sort you can easily make it and use with it either 
pencil, awl, or knife, as may best suit the case in hand. 

If you wish to draw a line two inches from the edge of a board, 
for example, you can mark off two or more points at the required 
distance and with a rule and pencil draw the line through these 
points. If you were to make the points so near together as to 
touch, you would have the line without needing the ruler. This 
is what the gauge does. It makes a continuous measurement and 
a continuous mark, which is of course the line required. 

The only gauge you need for rough work is a rule (or even a 
stick) and a pencil. To draw a line, for example, two inches 
from the edge of a board, take the rule in one hand, and lay the 

388 Wood-Working for Beginners 

end flat on the surface of the board so that it laps over two inches 
from the edge (Fig. 528). Place the forefinger underneath, 
against the edge, so that the end of the rule will remain two 
inches from the edge, and simply slide rule and finger along the 
edge, holding a pencil at the end of the rule with the other hand 

to make the mark. The 
finger must be kept evenly 
pressed against the edge. 
This is only suited for 
rough work, or for getting 
out stock approximately 
to shape, and of course 
cannot be depended upon 
for accurate measure- 

Something more accur- 
ate, with which you can- 
not get splinters in your 
finger, can easily be 

made, when needed, in this way. To run a line two inches from 
an edge, for example, and parallel to it, simply take any short 
stick and cut a piece out of it at one end so that the distance from 
the shoulder to the end will be just two inches, 
as shown in Fig. 529. Apply this to the edge 
of the piece and slide it along on the same 
principle as the rule and finger, being care- 
ful to keep the shoulder pressed up to the 
edge and the pencil or knife held firmly 
against the end. Instead of cutting out a 
piece you can nail one piece on another 
(Fig. 530). The latter is better for straight 
work because the head or fence is longer 
and so can be more securely pressed against 
the edge. An objection to this gauge is the need of making a 
new one for every measurement, but where there is occasion to 

FIG. 528. 

FIG. 530. 

Tools and Operations 


keep repeating a measurement it is particularly convenient and 

quickly made. 

For another home-made gauge (Fig. 531) cut a recess in one 

side of a block just wide enough to hold the rule and just deep 

enough so that the flat side 
of the rule will project a 
trifle above the surface of 
the block. On this side of 
the block fasten a small strip, 

FIG. 531. 

FIG. 532. 

with a screw, so that when the two pieces are seized in the hand 
the rule will be held fast at the point to which it is adjusted. 
This is more accurate than to use the hand alone. You can 
readily contrive such arrangements, which will be quite accurate 
if carefully used, but it is not worth while to spend much time 
over such makeshifts (except in case of necessity), for a fairly 
good gauge can be bought for a small sum. 

The gauge is usually an awkward tool for the beginner to use. 
He finds it hard to keep the stock firmly against the edge while 

sliding it along, and lets the 
spur dig or plough deeply 
into the wood the spur 
tends to follow the grain of 
the wood and when the grain 
runs toward the edge the re- 
sult is often as shown in Fig. 
532, the stock being pushed 
FlG - 533 ' from the edge. The stock is 

then pushed back and the wobbly process continued. To- avoid 
these errors, the gauge, held well in front of you in one hand, 
should be tipped or inclined from you so that the spur will be 

390 Wood- Working for Beginners 

drawn along the surface (Fig. 533) and will make but a slight 
scratch. Then, keeping the stock or head firmly pressed against 
the edge, push the gauge steadily from you, watchrng carefully 
to see (ist) that the spur does not begin to dig into the wood in- 
stead of lightly scratching it, and (2d) that the head does not 
slip away from the edge. This will prevent the point catching 
or jumping and will insure a good mark, which can easily be 
deepened by going over the line a second time if necessary. 

It is easier to mark a line when the spur is near the head of the 
gauge than when it is run out to some distance. The guiding 
power of the fence or head is greater over a point near to it than 
over a point at a distance, from which you can readily see that, 
conversely, the longer the head or fence, the easier the gauging 
becomes that is, for straight lines, which is much the most com- 
mon use of the gauge. In gauging from a curved edge, a long 
fence, unless curved, would be impracticable. 

Where it will injure the work to have the gauge marks show 
(as when the work is to be finished with shellac or varnish), be 
careful not to carry them farther than necessary, as very slight 
scratches show plainly after finishing. Otherwise, in cases where 
the marks will not show or do no harm, as in rough framing, it 
is as well to run them past the required points, as it is quicker 
to do so and the juncture of lines which cross is more distinct. 

Gauge from the same side of the wood in laying out mortises 
or any lines intended to be in the middle of a piece of wood, or at 
a fixed distance from one edge, else if the edges are not exactly 
parallel (as is often the case) the markings will differ. See also 

Gimlet. The gimlet is useful, cheap, and good for boring 
where the hole does not come near the edge, but near the edge 
or in thin wood great care must be taken to prevent splitting. If 
necessary to use it in such a case, keep turning it backwards for 
every turn ahead and do not try to force it through the wood. 
It is l?etter ? however, to use some other tpol if you can (see Bits 

Tools and Operations 391 

and Twist- drill}, for the tapering form of the gimlet gives it a 
wedge-like, prying action upon the woody fibres. 

Gimlet-Bit. See Bits. 

Glazing. An old chisel can be used to clean off old putty 
before setting glass. On new work, see that the rabbet or 
shoulder where the putty is to go is primed with lead paint be- 
fore putting on the putty (see Painting). You can buy glazier's 
points, to hold the glass in position under the putty, for a trifle, 
or very small brads can be used. No special directions are 
necessary for using the putty. 

To set common glass in furniture, as in bookcase doors, it is 
better to fasten it in place with small strips, not pressed too tightly 
against it. Strips of plain moulding are good. To set plate glass 
in furniture, the same means can be used for small pieces, but 
large plates, as for a mirror, should be held in place by little strips 
of soft pine, one or two inches long, bevelled on one side. The 
other side being glued, these strips can be lightly pressed into 
the crack around the glass. These short pieces, glued to the 
frame on one side and with the bevelled side wedging the glass 
into place, hold the latter securely, but, owing to the softness of 
the wood, not too rigidly. 

Glue. See Gluing. 

Gluing. Glue is made from refuse animal matter, and also 
from parts of fishes, the latter being known as fish glue. It 
comes in sheets or cakes or flakes, to be dissolved and used hot, 
or already prepared in liquid form. 

The majority of practical mechanics prefer the former (/'. <?., 
" hot " glue) for nice work, although the use of liquid glue has 
increased much of late years. Hot glue is probably preferable 
if all the conditions are just as they should be, but if not so, 
liquid or " cold " glue may be better. 

Buy the best grade. It is the cheapest for good work, and you 
will not use enough to make the price much of an obstacle. The 

392 Wood-Working for Beginners 

only sure test by which to buy glue is to get a little and see how 
it holds. A good way to prove the quality of your glue is to soak 
it over night, or as long as may be necessary, in whatever quantity 
of water you think it will absorb. The more it will swell without 
dissolving, the better the quality. Poor glue will dissolve. 

You cannot positively tell good glue by the colour, for there 
are many kinds (and for more than one purpose) and many 
makers, but whatever the colour, the glue should be clear looking 
and not cloudy or muddy. Do not use glue that has a mouldy 
or otherwise disagreeable or offensive smell or a bad taste. 

To prepare hot glue, break the glue into small pieces, and soak 
it in all the cold water it will absorb for perhaps twelve hours, 
when it will have become swollen and softened and will look and 
feel somewhat like jelly. Then put it in the inner glue-pot (see 
Glue-pot] and cause the water in the outer vessel to boil for several 
hours. It is quicker to dissolve the glue at once without soak- 
ing, but the result does not seem to be quite as good as by the 
former method. The glue to be right for use must be thin 
enough to drip from the brush in a thread or stream, without 
collecting in drops like water, and you can tell something about 
its being in condition to use by testing it between your fingers. 
Do not weaken its strength, however, by diluting with more water 
than is necessary. 

It is important to keep the glue and the glue-pot clean, and if 
the odour from your glue becomes offensive at any time clean 
out the glue-pot and make fresh. 

Glue loses strength by repeated meltings, so do not dissolve too 
much at a time, and after heating it over two or three times throw 
away any that is left in the glue-pot, cleaning the latter thor- 
oughly. On work which you are very particular about mix fresh 
glue each time. 1 

'Two pieces properly glued are often stronger than one solid piece that 
is, the glued joint is stronger than the wood itself, as you will probably dis- 
cover some day when you have occasion to break apart a piece of good gluing ; 
but after a long time the glue is apt to deteriorate in adhesive or cohesive 

Tools and Operations 393 

You can make a good glue-brush of a stick of rattan. Soften 
the end in hot water and pound it with the hammer until the 
fibres separate. For corners, cracks, holes, and the like use 
sticks, which you can whittle to any required shape. 

Although apparently too simple an operation to need much 
explanation, and often ignored in books on woodwork, as if any- 
one could of course glue two pieces together, the operation, to be 
really successful, calls for more knowledge of the principles in- 
volved than beginners or amateurs usually possess. Do not daub 
a thick layer of lukewarm glue on the pieces, and then slap them 
together as you would make a sandwich, after the usual domestic 
fashion. Done in this way the pieces often stick for a while, 
but there is nothing certain about it. 

We have seen that wood is full of little holes (pores, as they 
are commonly called), or spaces between the fibres (see Fig. 6). 
The glue becomes worked into these little pores and that is what 
gives it such a firm hold on the wood, somewhat as plastering is 
forced (purposely) into the cracks between the laths. 

So you must have the glue thin, that it may fill these little 
cavities and get a " grip " on the wood; you must have it hot, 
that it may the more easily penetrate these open spaces before it 
becomes chilled; you must have the wood warm, that the glue 
may not be chilled and begin to set before it has a chance to 
penetrate the interstices of the wood; and you must press the 
pieces together so hard as to expel the body of glue from between 
them, forcing it into the pores and squeezing outside what will 
not go in, to be wiped or scraped off afterward. For what you 
want is not to have the two pieces held together by a layer of 
glue between them, lightly sticking to each surface and separating 

force, particularly if the joint has not been protected by paint or varnish, so do 
the best work you can if you wish it to last. Nevertheless, in important work 
it is usually safest to take a whole piece when you can, rather than glue up two 
or more pieces, except in cases, perhaps, where the matter of warping, etc., is 
concerned, when it may be better to build up the desired shape of pieces 
selected for the purpose, 

394 Wood-Working for Beginners 

the two in proportion to the thickness of the layer; but to 
have the two surfaces as close together as possible, held so by the 
tenacity of the glue reaching from the cavities of one surface to 
those of the other. The closer the surfaces are forced together 
the better, as the glue will be less exposed to the atmosphere. 

You will see from all this that gluing should be done in a 
warm room of an even temperature. 

While with hot glue it will not do to change the relative posi- 
tions of the pieces after putting together, you can have consid- 
erable time to get them in position if the liquid or cold glue is 
used. Where several places in the same piece of work have to 
be glued together at the same time, it is frequently very hard to 
get around with the hot glue before that first applied has begun 
to set, unless you have help. In such cases, cold glue is a great 
convenience. If your shop is not warm or if you cannot have 
your glue hot, you had better use the liquid glue. It takes much 
longer to set than the other. In cold weather it should be 
slightly warmed. It can be thinned with vinegar or acetic acid, 
or what you wish to use at once may be thinned with water. Do 
not pour water into the can of glue, as it will not keep so well. 

You will also readily see that it is much easier to make good 
glued joints in soft wood than in hard, for the former is more 
readily squeezed to a fit by the clamping, while with the latter it 
is quite essential that the pieces should fit with extreme accuracy 
before clamping (see note under Clamps}. 

Before beginning to glue have everything laid out, fit the pieces 
together, clamp them up just as if you had put on the glue, and 
see that everything comes together right i.e., rehearse the 
gluing process before using the glue itself. This is a very im- 
portant point, particularly when there are several pieces to be 
glued, for you will have no time to waste after you have begun 
to use the glue. 

Do not spread the glue on too thick. Take the dirt off both 
pieces, then, while putting the glue on one, have the other warm- 
ing slightly at the fire. The moment the glue on the brush leaves 

Tools and Operations 395 

the glue-pot it begins to cool. If it fairly begins to set before 
you get the two pieces together, your joint will not be good. 
You will have to take it apart, scrape off all the old glue, and be- 
gin over again. So you will see there is no time to be lost when 
once you begin and it will be too late then to correct any mistakes 
in the fitting of the woodwork. Good workmen always put the 
work together and take it apart again before gluing. 

Do not wipe off the glue which squeezes out from a glued joint 
(unless for some special reason) nor wash it off with water. Let 
it harden, and clean it off after the joint has set. It helps pro- 
tect the joint. 

Do not be in haste to unclamp your work. When to release it 
depends on the kind of wood, the kind of work, and the circum- 
stances under which the gluing is done, and no exact time can 
be set. If for some temporary and unimportant purpose and in 
soft pine, for instance, you can unclamp in a few hours or even 
less, but for important work, which is to hold permanently, 
twelve hours is scarcely time enough even for soft wood and hot 
glue, and twenty-four hours is none too long, for though the glue 
dries quickly to the touch, it takes considerable time to get thor- 
oughly hard. It is safer to allow more time for hard wood. 
The thickness of the stock makes a difference also. Large junks 
and blocks and boards glued flatways require more time that |" 
stock, thin strips, or little splinters. You can tell something by 
the condition of the glue that is squeezed from the joint. Liquid 
glue sets much more slowly, and twenty-four hours is soon enough 
to release the work under average conditions. The warmth and 
dryness of the air make a good deal of difference. Under unfav- 
ourable conditions more than forty-eight hours may be required. 

If for any reason you cannot clamp a joint, after applying the 
glue rub one piece back and forth upon the other a few times. 

Rub wax, soap, or tallow on any part which must not be stuck 
by surplus glue which may exude from a joint, as in the case of 
a panel which may become stuck by the glue used in fastening 
the frame (see Doors and Panels], 

39 6 Wood- Working for Beginners 

To glue two pieces where the surface is to be planed or trimmed 
at the joint, do not glue them together after they are planed or 
trimmed, but glue them first, and plane or trim them afterwards, 
taking care to have the grain of the pieces run in the same 
direction (see Jointing]. 

To glue pieces end to end, or as in a mitre, that is, " end 
wood," first size with thin glue to stop the pores, else the glue 
will be quickly soaked up. Then, after allowing this coat to 
stand, glue in the ordinary way. But glued joints in end wood 
are seldom good and are to be avoided. 

A great deal of glued work comes apart, and a great many mis- 
takes in putting work together are caused by not understanding, 
or not bearing in mind, the way wood expands and contracts and 
warps and winds from heat and cold, dryness and moisture. 
This is an important matter if you wish to do good gluing. Do 
not think that all that is necessary is to have your wood dry and 
that then you can glue the pieces together in any relative positions. 
Veneers or thin pieces are sometimes successfully glued with the 
grain of the pieces running at right angles, as seen in chair seats, 
but as a rule avoid gluing wide pieces together with the grain 
running at right angles. See Laying out the Work^ in Chapter 
IV. ; also Jointing. 

Glue-Pot. This can be bought of copper, iron, or tin. A 
medium-sized one is more useful than a very small one. Have 
a cover to keep out dust and loose particles. 

If obliged to make shift without a proper glue-pot, always use 
two dishes like a regular glue-pot, with water in the outer one, on 
the principle of the double boiler used for cooking, else the glue 
will be sure to burn and be spoiled. Two cans, such as are used 
for tomatoes or other vegetables, can be used on a pinch, one 
being larger than the other and fastened in place with wire or in 
some way to keep the smaller can from moving around too much ; 
but a regular glue-pot is much better. See Gluing. 

Gouge. This tool is similar to the chisel, except for the 

Tools and Operations 


curvature across the blade. The common gouge has the bevel 
on the convex or outer side and is known as an "outside" 
gouge. This is the more useful for ordinary work. The " in- 
side " gouge has the bevel on the inner or concave side. 
Although very useful for many purposes, it is less important for 
general work and is harder to sharpen. 

Gouges are of various degrees of curvature, Vss ^ ' I / 

Fig. 534 showing a "flat" and a "quick" p 

curve. Those of moderate depth and curva- 
ture will be more useful for your work than very deep or very 
flat ones. 

In using the common or " outside " gouge, light, short strokes 

FIG. 535. 

should usually be made, for only the bevel of the tool bears on 
the wood, which makes this gouge quite hard to control. 

You can often apply the principle of the sliding or sideways 
cut in using the gouge, as with the chisel, to good advantage. 

You can roll the gouge around 
with your hand from side to side 
so as to make it cut slantingly. 
This is particularly useful to give 
a clean cut when gouging across 
the grain (Fig. 535). In some 
cases, in working out a moulding, 
for instance, you can hold the 
tool at an angle with the work and 

FIG. 536. 

get a better result than to push it straight forward lengthways 
(Fig. 536). 

Be careful not to scoop out little hollows below the required 

Wood-Working for Beginners 

depth of the cut, and keep the direction of the grain in mind the 
same as with the chisel. The little inequalities left by the gouge 
can be reduced easily by the file, curved scraper, or glass and 
sandpaper. See Sharpening. 

Gouge-Bit. See Bits. 

Grindstone. When you get to the point of having a grind- 
stone, get one which is somewhat soft and fine, for if too coarse 
it will produce a rougher edge than is desirable for your tools. 

Do not allow your grindstone to become softened in spots by 
being left partially immersed in a trough of water, as it will wear 
away irregularly. With the best of care a stone will, however, 
become untrue after continued use, not merely in its circular 
outline, but the face will become hollowed and uneven. It must 
then be trued, either by some one of the contrivances now made 
for the purpose, or by simply turning the stone into the correct 
shape by holding the end of a piece of soft iron, as a piece of 
pipe, against the surface, without water, moving the iron as oc- 
casion requires, until the stone becomes true. 

Grooving. Grooves of different dimensions are often required 
for various purposes in wood-working. By far the best way, as a 
practical matter, is to take the work to a mill and have the groov- 
ing done by machine, which is not expensive. It can be done 
by hand with the planes devised for the purpose (as the plough), 
but though these are valuable tools, they are largely superseded, 
or becoming so, by machine-work, and it is usually fully as well 
for the amateur to take such work to the mill as to buy the tools. 

In some cases the sides of the groove can be sawed by the hand- 
saws and the material removed by the chisel, but this is not easy 
if the groove is long. Pieces are sometimes clamped beside the 
line to guide the saw and sometimes even attached to the saw 
itself, or to a piece of saw-blade. The lines for the groove can 
be scored with the knife or chisel and the wood between removed 
by the chisel, much as in cutting a mortise. 

In nice work, as fitting a shelf in a bookcase, it makes a better 

Tools and Operations 


joint not to fit the entire end of the shelf into a groove, but to cut 
a tongue or wide tenon on the end of the shelf, with a shoulder at 
each side and the front edge, to fit into a corresponding groove, 
as shown in Fig. 284. 

Half-Round File. See File. 

Halving. This joint shown in Fig. 537 is a common, simple, 
and good way of joining two sticks when they cross at right angles 

FIG. 537. FIG. 538. 

or obliquely. Place the sticks in position and mark the width of 
each upon the surface of the other, using a knife or chisel for 

FIG. 539. FIG. 540. 

scribing. With small sticks the wood can be removed with the 
knife, first cutting a notch at each side and then paring off the 

FIG. 541. FIG. 542. 

wood between (Fig. 538). With large pieces the lines should be 
marked by the square, the depth (one-half the thickness of either 

400 Wood- Working for Beginners 

piece) by the gauge. The lines at the outside of the space can 
then be sawed down to the gauge line, taking care to keep just on 
the inside edge of the line. The wood between can be pared 
out with the chisel down to the gauge lines. When the halving 
is at the ends of the pieces or at the end of one piece (Fig. 539), 

FIG. 543. 

FIG. 544. 

the process is the same, except that the wood can be entirely re- 
moved by the saw. Other forms involving bevelling and dove- 
tailing are shown in Figs. 540, 541, and 542. This principle of 
the lap joint is often carried a little further and we have the open 
mortise and tenon (Fig. 543), which can successfully be applied 
to a mitred joint and can also be dovetailed, and boxes are now 
made by machine with the corners entirely made up of a con- 
tinuous series of these joints (Fig. 544). See Joints. 

Hammer. The hammer is made in many forms, but the 
common kind used by carpenters will usually answer your pur- 
pose, and is too familiar to require description. For general use 
select one of medium size and weight. Remember that the face 
of the hammer-head, although harder than the nails it is meant 
to drive, is not intended to pound every piece of hardened steel 
you may run across, nor to break up boulders when you are after 
minerals. For the use of the hammer see Nailing. 

Hand-Screws. Hand-screws are of great use in clamping 
work that has been glued and for holding pieces in any required 
position. Wooden hand-screws are probably the most generally 
useful, but a couple (or more) of the simple iron clamps will be 
of great service at times, as they can be used more advantageously 
than the wooden ones in some kinds of work. Get medium-sized 

Tools and Operations 


hand-screws rather than small ones if you can, as they will be 
generally more serviceable. 

To open or close a hand-screw, hold it at arm's-length in front 
of you with a handle in each hand, and with a twirling motion re- 
volve it toward or from you, as may be required, to increase or 

FIG. 545. 

FIG. 546. 

FIG. 547. 

decrease the opening between the jaws. The screws should be 
greased or rubbed over with black-lead, soap, or bayberry tallow. 
To hold two pieces together with uniform pressure is of course 
necessary for gluing and various other operations, but a little 
practice will show you how to adjust the hand-screws so that the 
jaws will bear on the wood evenly. The main point to remember 
is to keep the jaws parallel. The final tightening is given entirely 
by the outer screw, so, in adjusting the screws, leave the jaws 
open a little at the tip as in Fig. 545, that when the final pressure 
is put upon the outer screw the jaws will bear on the wood with 
an even pressure (Fig. 546). If the jaws were adjusted to bear 
evenly before tightening the outer screw, 
the final result would be as shown in Fig. 


In clamping together finished work or 
pieces which could be injured by the pres- 
sure, always put pieces of waste wood be- 
tween the work and the hand-screws. In FIG. 548. 
case of delicate work, like carving or mouldings, a piece of soft 


402 Wood-Working for Beginners 

pine placed between the surface and the hand-screws or clamps 
will enable considerable pressure to be applied without injury to 
the work. 

A simple home-made clamp, suitable for such work as tempo- 
rarily holding in place parts of the frame of a boat, for instance, 
is shown in Fig. 548. See Clamps and also Figs. 66 and 647. 

Hatchet. The hatchet is too familiar to need description. 
A common, medium-sized hatchet, that can easily be swung with 
one hand, is all that the beginner will ordinarily require, although 
there is quite a variety of hatchets and axes for various purposes. 

The main thing in the use of the hatchet, besides keeping your 
fingers out of the way, is to look sharply after the direction of the 
grain of the wood, as it is not easy to stop a blow in the wrong 
place, for the hatchet is not so easily controlled as some other 
tools. Experience is the best teacher in the use^ of a hatchet. 
For removing superfluous wood with the hatchet, see Paring. 

Hinges. There are many varieties of hinges for various pur- 
poses. The common kind, like that shown in Fig. 135, had best, 
for neatness' sake, on moderately heavy work, be narrower than 
the thickness of the stock, so as not to extend across the edge. 
The hinge should be sunk in the wood of one or both of the 
parts to be hinged in the case of many boxes, for instance, one 
half of the hinge when shut is usually sunk in each part, but in 
some kinds of work the whole thickness may be sunk in one part. 
The hinge can be held in position on the edge (in the case of 
the box) so that the centre of the pin on which it turns is in line 
with the back of the box, or sometimes a little outside. Marks 
can be made with the knife or chisel at the ends of the hinge, and 
the recess in which it is to fit marked with the square and gauge. 
This wood should be removed with the chisel, first making cross 
cuts to break up the grain, as in Fig. 614. Fit the other hinge 
or hinges in the same way. Next lay the lid exactly in position 
on top of the hinges and mark by them and cut the recesses in 
the top in the same way. Hold the hinges in place with two or 

Tools and Operations 403 

three screws each and see whether the cover opens and shuts as 
it should. Make any needed alterations, and finally screw the 
hinges firmly in place. Another way is to place the lid exactly in 
position (shut) and mark directly from the hinges, on both box 
and cover at the same time, the points from which to lay out the 
recesses. It will be well to look at a properly fitted hinge for a 
similar purpose before beginning your work, since one rule cannot 
be laid down for all cases. 

For strap-hinges, T-hinges, and the like, see page 247. 

Holes and Cracks, To Fill. The simplest way to stop 
holes, cracks, checks, and the like, in painted work, is with putty, 
always applying it after the first coat of paint and never before 
(pvt Painting) i but this method should not be used for other than 
painted work, and the nicer the work, the less desirable the use 
of putty becomes. 

For nice work, as furniture, which has not been finished, small 
holes or cracks are often stopped by putting a daub of hot glue 
on the smooth end of a piece of wood of the same kind as the 
article, and with a sharp chisel, held nearly at right angles with 
the surface, scraping off fine wood-dust, which, mixing with the 
glue, forms a paste with which the crack can be more than filled. 
When hard, the surplus can be pared and 
scraped off. 

Plaster of Paris (calcined plaster), mixed 
with very thin hot glue, is excellent for stopping 
cracks and holes of considerable size. It can 
be mixed with water only, but this is not as good. 

Fitting in a plug of wood is a good way when 
the hole is of such shape that you can do so, 
making the grain of the plug run the same way 
as that of the piece to be plugged. Taper the 
plug slightly, so that when driven in it will fit tightly and not be 
flush with the surface, but project above it (Fig. 549). Dip in hot 
glue, and drive well in. When dry smooth off. If the hole is 

404 Wood-Working for Beginners 

irregular, trim to some shape to which you can fit a plug. In 
nice work take pains to have the plug a good match for the rest 
of the wood. 

Slight cracks at the end of a piece can often be plugged and 
at the same time secured against further splitting by sawing 
directly down the crack, so as to remove it and substitute a 
straight saw-kerf. In this kerf a slip of wood can be fitted and 

Wax, and also melted shellac, can be used to stop holes and 
cracks in finished work. For this, see under Finishing. 

Jack-Plane. See Plane. 
Jointer. See Plane. 

Jointing. This term is applied to the act of straightening 
and making true the edges of two boards or planks which are to 

be joined to make a 
tight joint, with glue or 
otherwise. It is, also, 
popularly applied t o 
straightening the edge 
of one piece only, as 
to " joint " the edge 
of a board. This you 
will often have to do, 
and for jointing two 
edges which are to be 
glued particular care 
will be required. As- 
suming that the edges 
have been got ou t 
nearly straight, t he 

only plane you will require is the fore-plane, or better, the 
jointer, or even the " long " jointer if the piece is long and 
you are fortunate enough to have these tools, and it should be 
set fine, although if the edge is very crooked and you have to 

FIG. 550. 

Tools and Operations 405 

work off much superfluous stock, the iron can be set to make a 
coarse shaving at first. 

In shooting or jointing edges it is customary to hold the finger 
under the sole of the plane as a guide (Fig. 550). This helps in 
regard to the common fault of tipping the plane sideways so as 
to plane off more on one side than on the other (Fig. 551). This 
trouble may be aggravated by a wrong position of 
the left hand on the fore part of the plane in case 
you use a wooden plane (see Fig. 624 for correct 
position). Keep testing across the edge with the 
square (Fig. 640). The shooting-board can be 
used to advantage for short pieces (see Shooting- 
board}, and attachable guides can also be obtained. 

The jointing should be done with long, de- 
liberate, steady strokes. Any hasty, hit-or-miss 
slashing away with the plane will be sure to result 
in a bad joint, and you can easily get the edge into such shape 
by three or four careless strokes that it will take you a good while 
to get it straight. Try also to avoid planing the edge rounding, 
from end to end (see Plane, Figs. 635-637). Sight along the 
edge. Also test with straight-edge, looking toward the light. If 
any shines through, the edge is not yet accurate and the pro- 
cess must be resumed. 

If you are jointing two edges, as for a " glue-joint," first ex- 
amine the pieces to see which edges will best go together, ac- 
cording to the purpose for which they are intended. Look at 
the end grain so as to arrange it in different ways if you are 
building up a piece of selected parts (Fig. 559). If merely 
joining two or more boards to make a wider one, notice the way 
the grain runs lengthways, and the way it crops up to the surface, 
for you will have, for everything but the roughest work, to plane 
the surface over after the joint is glued, and if the grain runs in 
two or three different ways it will be harder to make the surface 
smooth. There are cases, however, in handsomely figured 
wood, as quartered oak or mahogany, where you will arrange 

406 Wood-Working for Beginners 

the grain in the way that will look the best, but in such cases you 
expect to go through extra labour for the sake of having the 
article as handsome as possible. With soft, straight-grained 
white pine or whitewood, these matters are of less importance. 
When you have the pieces laid together in the best way, mark on 
the surface right across the joints (Fig. 552) so that you will 
know how to put the pieces together, for you will forget how they 
were arranged after you have moved them around a few times. 
Joint each edge separately. For nice work it is well to joint 


FIG. 552. 

FIG. 553. 

the edges of the successive pieces alternately from opposite sides, 
that is, if in planing the edge of the first piece the marked (or 
face) side of the board is tou>ards you, plane the edge of the next 
piece with the face side of the board against the bench, or away 
from you. This helps to counteract the result of any tendency 
to tip the plane to one side or any inaccuracy in setting the 
plane-iron. See Shooting-board, 

Then, putting one piece in the vice with the jointed edge up- 
wards, lay the other edge upon it in the proper position and see 
if the two edges touch throughout. If not, one or both must be 
planed with thin, careful strokes until they do fit, for the joint 
will not be good unless the edges coincide. Remember, how- 
ever, that it takes more than merely touching to make a good 
joint. The surfaces of the boards must be in line (in the same 
plane). Of course this really depends upon the edges being 
square. Test by holding a straight-edge, the square, the edge 

Tools and Operations 407 

of the plane, or anything straight, against the surface of the 
boards (Fig. 553).' 

Do not be misled by the directions you may see in "amateur " 
books and magazine articles which tell you, for cases like this, 
when you wish to glue up the lid of a desk, for instance, to plane 
and sandpaper your boards carefully on the sides and then fit the 
edges together, after which you " have only to glue the edges and 
the job is done." That is not the right way to make a glued 
joint, as you will find out for yourself after you have planed a 
few dozen boards the second time. The skilled workman seldom 
attempts to do this except in repairing or some case where the 
surface of the pieces must be preserved. The practical work- 
man's way (which is the way for you), is to glue first and plane 
afterwards. The best way, practically, is to glue up the rough 
boards before they have been planed at all, and then have the 
whole planed down as one piece by machine to the required 
thickness. Of course you should get the surfaces as nearly in line 
as you can, to avoid needless planing afterwards, but give your 
special attention to making the joint hold (see note under 

Sometimes the edges of boards to be glued are purposely 
planed, hollowing lengthways, so that the two pieces touch at the 
ends, but do not quite come together in the middle, the idea 
being that a clamp at the middle will force the joint together for 
its whole length and will give a stronger result than to attempt to 
make both edges exactly straight. If there is to be any open 
place in the joint before gluing, it is better to have it at the 
middle than at the ends, but there is a difference of opinion as 

1 It may be useful to know, although not suitable work for the beginner, that 
there is no better way to joint edges (to make glued joints, as in Fig. 552) than 
with a first-class circular saw, run by one who knows how to use it. The 
minute roughnesses left by the saw assist the glue to hold, and as inconspicuous 
and strong joints as possible can be quickly produced in this way by a good 
workman with a first-class saw, but do not expect a satisfactory result except 
under these conditions. 

408 Wood- Working for Beginners 

to whether there is any advantage in springing boards to fit in 
this way. 

Before gluing hardwood edges, it is well to tooth them over 
with the toothed-plane, if you have one. (See Plane.} 

See Plane, Gluing, Joints, C leafing, Dowelling, etc. 

Joints and Splices. There are many kinds of splices and 
joints used in the different branches of 
woodwork, a few of which are here given. 

The common square butt-joint (Fig. 
554) is the simplest way to join two pieces 
at right angles, as in making a box or 
frame, and is used for all common work. 
Glue is of but little use with this joint. 
Rely wholly on nails or screws. 

To make a better joint, cut a rabbet at 
the end of one piece and you have a joint 
(Fig. 555) which shows less end wood, and 
can be helped a good deal by gluing, on 
account of the shoulder. 

Another way is shown in Fig. 556. 
Some strength and stiffness is gained by 
the tongue and groove, but a groove near 
the end introduces an element of weakness. 

A much stronger way and a tighter joint 
(Fig. 557) is often used for cisterns, water- 
tanks, and horse troughs, but the project- 
ing ends are objectionable for most 
purposes. See Halving, Mitring, Dovetail- 
ing, and also Box-making, page 219. 

In nailing any sucli joints as those just 

shown, remember to always bore holes for the nails wherever 
there is danger of splitting. See Awl, Bits, Boring, Nailing. 

There are many ways, besides those just mentioned, for join- 
ing sticks and timbers at right angles, which is something you 

FIG, 557. 

Tools and Operations 409 

will often have to do, whether for a kite or some small framework 
or for the timbers of a building. 

To join two or more boards or planks to make a wider surface, 
several methods can be used. Cleating, though strong and suit- 
able for all such work as drawing-boards, rough doors, and the 
like, is often undesirable, both on account of the looks and be- 
cause the cleats may be in the way (see Cleating]. The simplest 
way, without cleats, is to glue the jointed edges (see Jointing 
and Gluing). Dowels can be used with this joint (see Dowel- 

. 558. FIG. 559. 

ling), or grooves can be cut and a strip or spline or tongue in- 
serted (Fig. 558). This last way can be done at the mill quicker 
and better than by hand. The edges can also be halved, or a 
rabbet cut in each edge from opposite sides. The boards 
can also be " matched " (see page 46), in which case it is not 
usual to glue them. All of these joints can best be made by 

To avoid the warping and change of shape to which wide pieces 
are subject, particularly when they are not middle boards (see 
Chapter III.), they are often built up of selected narrower pieces 
(Fig. 559). This is done for many things, the frames of ma- 
chines, the tops of sewing-tables, drawing-boards, chopping- 
blocks, etc. Masts, bows, fishing-rods, and the like are sometimes 
built up of selected pieces, the idea being that a better result can 
be obtained by combining selected smaller pieces, that flaws and 
defects (which are apt to occur in larger pieces) can be avoided, 
and that sometimes the grain can be arranged to better advan- 
tage. This is doubtless true, but there is always the objection 
that glued joints may give way. If you can get a piece which 
is practically perfect, it is probably in most cases better than a 
glued-up combination, for it is not easy to improve on Nature 

Wood- Working for Beginners 

when you can get her best specimens ; but unless you can get 
first-class stock of the dimensions required, it is better to " build 
up " with smaller pieces of selected stock. 

Where the ends of two pieces come together and you wish to 
make a close joint, you will, of course, saw the pieces off as 
squarely as possible, using the square or perhaps the mitre-box. 
If you mark and saw them with exactness, and if everything 
about their arrangement is straight and square and true, the ends 
will come together exactly and make a close joint, but as a prac- 

FIG. 560. FIG. 561. 

tical matter this frequently will not happen, however careful you 
may be. For nice work, the workmanlike way in such cases is 
to plane or pare the ends until they fit, but for rougher work the 
expedient of sawing the ends to fit can be resorted to. To do 
this, put the ends together as they are to go (Fig. 560), keep 
them from moving, and saw straight down through the joint. As 
the saw will leave a kerf of uniform thickness, the pieces can 
now be pushed together and the ends will fit, unless the joint 
was very much open, in which case you have only to saw again, 
and if necessary repeat the operation until the ends fit. This is 
a very useful expedient in case of need, but should not be relied 
on as a regular way to make joints, lest it engender a careless 
and inaccurate method of work. This applies also to joints 
which meet at any angle. 

In some cases, where only one side of each piece shows, as in 
laying floor-boards, it is usual to undercut the ends slightly that 
is, to make the joint a little open at the bottom, which gives a 
tight and neat joint on the side which shows (Fig. 561, which is 

Another way to make an end joint is by bevelled scarfing or 
splaying (Fig. 562).. You will see the ends of the clapboards on 

Tools and Operations 


old houses joined in this way, and it doubtless makes a better 
joint in many cases than the common square or butt-joint, but 
it is more work. Strips of moulding are often cut in this way. 

There are many ways of splicing two or more pieces so as to 
get greater length, many of them, such as are used in bridge- 
building and roof-framing, being quite complicated. You will 
rarely, however, in such work as you will do at first, have occa- 
sion to do more than nail strips (fish-plates) on the sides of the 

FIG. 562. 

FIG. 563. 

FIG. 564. 

pieces or make a halved splice or scarfed joint (Fig. 563). The 
latter is often made longer than that shown and fastened in 
various ways. A joint for a brace is shown in Fig. 564. 

See Cleats, Doors, Dovetailing, Dowelling, Gluing; Halving, 
Mitring, Mortising, Nailing, etc. 

Keyhole Saw. See Saw. 

Knife. An excellent knife for shop work is a sloyd knife. A 
good shoe-knife will do very well. This is better for shop work 
than a jack-knife. It will not close on your fingers for one thing. 
For general purposes, however, a pocket-knife is the best thing, 
as you cannot carry a sloyd knife around with you. In buying 
it get a good plain knife with not more than two or three blades 
and of the best steel you can nfford. Do not waste money in 
trying to get your whole kit of tools into the compass of one jack- 

412 Wood-Working for Beginners 

knife handle. In selecting a knife, open the blades and sight 
along the back to see that each blade is accurately in line with 
the handle, as they are sometimes fastened at a slight angle, 
which weakens the knife. 

An immense variety of work can be done with a common 
pocket- or jack-knife, which is the best emergency tool for either 
the beginner or the skilled workman. One great thing about 
whittling is that you cannot rely on squares, rules, or compasses 
to get your work right, but must be independent, think quickly, 
look sharply, and rely on your own faculties. A knife is so easy 
to sharpen that there is not much excuse for using a dull one. 
See Sharpening. 

In cutting, always keep your left hand behind the blade, and 
as a general rule cut from you, for the tool may slip and cut you 
instead of the wood. There are cases where you have to cut to- 
wards you, but there is never any need of getting your left hand 
in front of the cutting-edge. 

Level. A spirit-level is important for some work, but not 
often necessary for the beginner, as a substitute can easily be 
made. A horizontal or level line being at right angles with a 
vertical line, a home-made level can be made by using the prin- 
ciple of the plumb-line, as shown on page 96. When the plumb- 
line hangs freely on the line ab, which is at right angles to cd, 
the latter line (cd} must of course be level. The frame should be 
several feet long for levelling large work, as it can be adjusted 
more accurately than if small. 

Linseed Oil. See Finishing and Painting. 

Locks. Use locks of good quality or none at all. Never put 
very cheap locks on good work. There are many varieties of 
locks, some to be screwed on the outside of the wood, others to 
be sunk in recesses cut in the side of the wood, others still to 
be let into mortises chest-locks, door-locks, cupboard-locks, 
drawer-locks, etc. 

To fit a chest- or box-lock (not a mortise-lock), place the lock 

Tools and Operations 413 

in the right position, mark around the part required to be sunk 
in the wood, which can be cut away with gouge and chisel, the 
keyhole having been bored quite through the wood and trimmed 
to a neat outline which will conform to the shape of the key. 
When the lock has been screwed in its recess, put the " hasp," 
or part which is to be on the lid, into its place in the lock, just 
where it will be when the chest is locked. Then close the lid, 
and by slightly pressing you can make a mark on it to show 
where to put the hasp. Sometimes you can mark the place 
with a pencil, or by putting transfer-paper between the hasp and 
the wood, or by rubbing blackened grease on the plate of the 
hasp. The plate of the hasp should be sunk in the lid to be 
flush with the surface, and may then be screwed on, bearing in 
mind the thickness of the lid when selecting the screws. A 
mortise-lock is fitted in a similar way, but let into a mortise (see 
Mortising} . 

To fit a common drawer-lock, determine the place for the 
keyhole and place the lock in position on the inside as before. 
With a pencil mark the outline of the box-part of the lock, 
which bears against the wood. Cut away the wood within this 
line, making a recess slightly deeper than the thickness of 
the box-part of the lock. The hole must be bored for the key, 
as before. Put the lock into place and mark the outline of the 
outer plate, not merely on the inside of the drawer front but also 
on the top edge. Cut away the wood with the chisel to let the 
plate sink flush with the wood. When the keyhole is shaped, try 
the lock and if it works, screw it on. Close the drawer and turn the 
key hard to raise the bolts (the tops of which have been previously 
rubbed with blackened grease, such as can be scraped 
from an oilstone, or using transfer paper), which, pressing 
against the wood, will mark the places for the mortises into 
which they are to slide. Cut these mortises and the drawer can 
be locked. 

The variety of locks and their arrangement in regard to fitting 
is so great that it will be best for you to examine a well-fitted 

414 Wood- Working for Beginners 

lock for the same purpose that the lock you have to fit is intended, 
for one rule cannot be given for all cases. 

Mallet. The mallet, which is merely a hammer with a wooden 
head, is made in various forms and sizes, from the big beetle of 
the wood-chopper to the ladies' carving mallet. It is used to 
strike the wooden tool-handles. 

For heavy work a mallet with the handle put through the head 
from the outside, like the handle of a pickaxe, is good because 
the head cannot come off. A rounded head with the handle on 
the end (like a potato-;masher) saves having to notice how you 
hold it, as it is equally effective in any position. A mallet of 
this type can be turned all in one piece. Hickory or lignum- 
vitae or any dense, hard wood is good for a mallet. 

You do not gain force by using the mallet instead of the ham- 
mer, but the softer and more yielding blow of the mallet saves 
the tool-handle. 

Marking. For all rough work the ordinary carpenter's pencil, 
sharpened flatways, like a screw-driver, is the most convenient 
and durable instrument. For nicer work, where you need more 
accurate lines, the common round pencil (medium hard or rather 

soft) is all you need, but for 
nice, close work (such as mark- 
ing accurate joints), a knife, 
the corner of a chisel, a mak- 
ing-awl, or a scriber of some sort 
is necessary. There is no need 
to buy any tool for this, 
although they are to be had 
nothing is better than a com- 
mon pocket-knife or a chisel. 
Keep your pencils sharp by 
_. 6 rubbing them on a piece of 

fine sandpaper, or an old file. 
In scribing with the chisel, the edge is drawn along with one 

Tools and Operations 415 

corner slightly raised and the flat side next the straight-edge, 
holding the tool either like a pencil or for deeper scoring as in 

Fi g- 5 6 5- 

In all marking and scribing, whether with pencil, awl, knife, 
chisel, or other tool, be sure that the marking edge is kept close 
up to the rule, straight-edge, or square, as it will often tend to 
follow the grain of the wood and run off the line, and will some- 
times force the straight-edge or square out of position if the latter 
is not held firmly. 

Do not try to stop lines which meet at a given point, but let 
them cross one another when they will not show in the finished 
work, as it is quicker to do so and the crossing of two lines 
marks a point more accurately than a dot. For work to be 
finished, however, scoring the surface with lines should be 
avoided wherever they will show, as they will become con- 
spicuous after the work is finished. 

In marking lines with a, straight-edge or ruler you must be care- 
ful that it does not slip. If it is long you can put weights on it. 
To mark a line accurately through given points, the ruler should 
not quite touch the points, but be pushed almost up to them and 
equally distant from each (Fig. 566). This will give you a clear 
view of both points so that 
you can be sure that the 
pencil or whatever you 


mark with will go as nearly 
as possible through the 
centre of each. Bearing 
the pencil against the edge 
of the ruler, you can slant 
it a trifle till the pencil- THICK RULE-ROUGH WORK. 

.... . , . , FIG. 567. 

point will just coincide with 

the given point on the wood, and, keeping the same inclination, 
move the pencil along the ruler, and it should also go through the 
second given point. This applies to a regular ruler with a com- 
paratively thin edge, and to fine work only. In marking by a 

416 Wood-Working for Beginners 

thick edge, or where extreme nicety is not required, you will of 
course put the straight-edge right up to the points and run the 
pencil-point along in the angle (Fig. 567). 

Besides marking lines, the straight-edge (in some form), is used 
to determine whether a surface is true. See Straight-edge. 

For rough, off-hand marking, particularly on undressed stock, 
chalk is often best. Sticks, shaped like school-crayons, of 
graphite or some black composition, are good for rough marking. 

The chalk-line is used for distances too great to Be covered 
conveniently by a straight-edge and in places where the latter 
could not so well be used. The chalk-line is a chalked cord 
drawn taut between the two points to be connected. : s better 
to use a small cord than a large one, and blue chalk is often pre- 
ferred to white. Fasten one end of the cord with a loop around 
an awl or nail at one end of the desired line, and from this point 
chalk the cord, holding it between the thumb and the chalk so 
that the cord will bear on the flat side of the chalk in such a way 
as to wear it away evenly without cutting it in two. Then 
draw the chalked cord tight to the other end of the desired line 
and, holding the end down with one hand, lift the cord from as 
near the middle as practicable with the thumb and forefinger of 
the other hand and let it snap back on to the surface. The cord 
should be raised squarely from the work and not pulled slantingly 
to one side or the line will not be straight. 

Marking-Awl. See Awl. 
Marking-Gauge. See Gauge. 
Matching-Plane. See Plane. 

Measurements and Measuring. For various suggestions, 
see Rule, and also pages 47, 48, 50, 167 (footnote), 244, and 261. 

Mirror-Plates. A good way to fasten such articles as mir- 
rors, cabinets, etc., to the wall is by mirror-plates, which you can 
buy or make yourself of brass. These should be sunk in the 
wood so as to be flush with the back side of the shelves. After 

Tools and Operations 

being fitted, they should be taken off during the process of fin- 
ishing the work. 

Mitre. See Mitring. 

Mitre-Board. See Mitring and also page 92. 

Mitre-Box. If you can afford it, an iron mitre-box which 
will cut at various angles will be very useful. You can make one 
yourself of wood. You can get a carpenter to make you one for 
a small sum, but the iron ones are better. See page 90. 

Mitre Shooting-Board. See page 94. 

Mitring. A common joint is the mitre (Fig. 568). Its only 
advantage is that it shows nothing but a line at the angle and the 
" end wood " is entirely concealed. It is a weak joint at best, 
even when made by a skilled workman, and is particularly hard 
for an amateur to make well. The slightest variation in one of 
the corners of a frame or box throws the whole structure out of 
shape and in attempting to correct the error the other joints are 
apt to be opened, and if the whole is finally got together in a 

FIG. 568. 

FIG. 569. 

FIG. 570. 

fashion it is often after bother enough to have accomplished 
much good work in some other way. 

The mitre is particularly unscientific for wide pieces used flat- 
ways (Fig. 569), as the inevitable expansion and contraction of 
the pieces is very apt to cause an open joint. If the wood is not 
quite di^, so that it shrinks, the joint may open permanently to- 
ward the inside corner, for when the wood shrinks in width the 

pieces will become narrower and so separate at the joint, leaving 

418 Wood- Working for Beginners 

a crack, tapering from the inner to the outer corner. Even if the 
wood is thoroughly seasoned it will expand and contract more 
or less. When it expands, the joint will tend to open at the 
outer corner (Fig. 570). When it contracts it will tend to 
open, as just shown (Fig. 571), at the inner corner. 

Of course there are some cases, as in making a picture frame 
of prepared " mouldings," when mitring is the only way in which 
the frame can be put together, and there are some other cases in 

FIG. 571. 

FIG. 572. 

FIG. 573- 

which it is the most proper and suitable joint, but as a general 
rule, for amateur work, particularly in framing where strength 
is a consideration, avoid the mitre. Other and better forms for 
anything like a box are shown in Figs. 554, 555, 556, 557. 

The mitre is sometimes strengthened for box work and the like 
by fitting a spline or tongue with the grain running across and 
not lengthways of the joint (Fig. 572.) This, properly glued 
under pressure, makes a good joint and one much superior to the 
plain mitre. But, though easy to do with machinery, it is a slow 
and careful job to make such a joint by hand, and if a case arises 
where you wish it done you had best take the work to a factory, 
where a circular saw is all that is needed. 

The principle of halving shown in Figs. 539 and 543, can also 
be applied to a mitred joint. 

Saw-kerfs are often made (Figs. 573 and 574) into which small 

Tools and Operations 


strips are tightly fitted and glued. This is a good way and easily 
done, once having got the mitre properly put together. A com- 
bination of the mitre with the joint shown in Fig. 555 is shown 
in Fig. 575. See also Dovetailing and Joints. 

To lay off a mitre, or the lines by which to cut the intersection 
of any two pieces at any angle, a simple way is that shown in Fig. 
576. The pieces are laid one above the other at the desired 
angle. Then the points of intersection are marked on each edge. 

FIG. 575- 

FIG. 574. 

FIG. 576. 

Lines connecting these points will give the desired angles for 
sawing. The square can be used to help in determining the 
points accurately and to project them to the upper side of the 
top piece. 

Mortise and Tenon. See Mortising. 
Mortise-Chisel. See Chisel. 
Mortise -Gauge. See Gauge. 

Mortising (Mortise and Tenon). If you can get out two 

pieces and fit them together accurately with a mortise-and-tenon 
joint, and do the work well, you will be competent to handle a 
great many of the difficulties of ordinary woodwork. 

420 Wood-Working for Beginners 

You will often have occasion to use this joint. The mortise is 
the hole in one of the two pieces to be joined. The tenon is the 
pin or projection in the other piece, shaped to fit the mortise. 

To lay out a mortise and tenon (Fig. 577), select and mark the 
working faces for each piece. First take the piece in which the 
mortise is to be cut (Fig. 578). Square two lines, ab and cd, 
across the face and the same distance apart as the width of the 
piece on which the tenon is to be cut. Carry these lines across 

FIG. 577. 

FIG. 579. 

the side X (ae and cf) and also across the side opposite to X 
(that is, the side where the tenon will come through). 

Next take the tenon-piece (Fig. 579) and measure from the 
end a distance a little greater than the width of the face of the 
mortise-piece, and at this point square a line, gh, across the face 
of the tenon-piece. Continue this line, gt\ around the piece, with 
the square. 

Now take the gauge and, setting it at the distance from the 
face settled upon for the mortise, scribe the line jk on the 
side X and also on the side opposite X . Also from the face of 
the tenon-piece, without changing the gauge, mark the line Im on 
the side X, on the opposite side, and on the end. Set the gauge 

Tools and Operations 421 

to measure from the face to the other side of the mortise, that 
is, add the width of the mortise to the figure at which the gauge 
was set, and scribe another set of lines, op and rs, in the same 
manner as before, remembering to gauge all the time from the 
same face. 

In the coarser kinds of work, where marks on the surface do 
no harm, the gauge marks can be run across the other lines, as 
being easier and more distinct, but in fine work, especially that 
which is to be finished, care should be taken not to make scratches 
that will be seen when the work is finished. The parts to be cut 
away are indicated by cross marks (Fig. 580) and it will be seen 
at once that the tenon and mortise are laid out correctly. 

To cut, take first the mortise-piece and fasten it securely by 
vise or clamp in a convenient position. 
The simplest way to remove the wood is to 
bore a series of holes with a bit of a diam- 
eter as nearly the width of the mortise as FIG. 580. 
you have (Fig. 580), but a trifle smaller. 

This removes a large part of the wood with but slight danger of 
splitting. The rest can easily be trimmed away to the lines with 
the chisel, taking care not to jam the chisel down lengthways of 
the mortise when the latter is blocked with chips or firm wood, 
or the wood may split off at the side of the mortise. 

To cut out the wood with the chisel only (or to trim the ends 
of the mortise after using the bit), bear in mind the way the chisel 
acts when you drive it into the wood. If both sides of the 
chisel were bevelled (as is the case with carving chisels), it 
would tend to go straight down into the wood, and if held verti- 
cally would make a vertical cut (Fig. 581), but the chisels you 
use for mortising are flat on one side and bevelled on the other. 
Being one-sided in this way, the edge of the tool is forced by 
the inclined bevel to slide off, so to speak, more or less, in the 
direction of the side which is flat. You can prove this easily 
by holding a chisel across the grain of a board and driving it 
in. If you hold the tool lightly, you will see that as you drive 

422 Wood- Working for Beginrrers 

it in it will incline to cut under, always on the side which is 
flat (Fig. 581). 

This shows how to go to work to cut a mortise so as to keep 
the sides square and true. If you put the chisel at the end, flat 
side outward, the cut will tend to run under and make the hole 

FIG. 581. 

FIG. 582. 

too large below the surface. If you turn the tool the other way, 
it tends to slip in towards the middle of the mortise. So, to cut 
out the wood, take a chisel just a trifle less in width than the 
mortise, and, beginning near the middle of the mortise, hold the 
chisel as in Fig. 582 and make successive cuts, working toward 
the end, first in one direction and then in the other, giving the 
chisel handle a slight pull toward the centre of the mortise each 
time you move it, to loosen the chips (Fig. 583). You can thus 
work safely toward the ends, which will be left slanting (Fig. 584). 
After cutting about half through the piece in this way, turn it 
over and repeat the process from the other side, the result being 

FIG. 584. 

FIG. 585. 

a hole like that shown in Fig. 585. Now turn the chisel around 
with the flat side toward either end of the hole, and you can pare 
down the ends to the line without danger of undercutting (Fig. 


Care must be taken not to jam the chisel down lengthways of 
the grain until the hole is practically cleared of wood, or the side 

Tools and Operations 423 

of the mortise may be split off. Use the chisel lengthways of 
the grain only at the end of the process, to pare the sides of the 
mortise evenly, with light strokes, down to the line. 

In all the use of the chisel, take pains to hold it vertically as 
regards the sides of the mortise that is, do not tip it over side- 
ways, or the mortise will be slanting or too wide at the bottom. 

The common firmer- or paring-chisel can be used for all light 
mortising, but for heavy work the regular mortising-chisel should 
be used (see Chisel}. 

To cut the tenon, simply saw carefully on the line gh and its 
opposite (Fig. 579) and then on the lines Im and rs. Be careful 
not to cut beyond the line, so as to make the tenon too small. It 
is easy to trim it a little with the chisel if it is too large. Cut a 
little bevel around the end of the tenon, so that it will drive 
through smoothly without catching and tearing the sides or ends 
of the mortise. When it goes through properly and the tenon 
and shoulder fit snugly, the projecting end of the tenon can be 
sawed off after the whole job is done. 

The tenon should be just large enough to drive through with 
a slight pressure and fit snugly without any wobbling around. It 
should not be so tight as to require much force to drive it home, 
or there will be danger of splitting out the sides of the mortise. 

There is no absolute rule as to how wide to make the mortise 
and tenon in proportion to the width of the pieces. It depends 
on the kind of work, the kinds of wood, the kind of strain to be 
put on the joint, and various circumstances too complex to be 

FIG. 586. FIG. 587. FIG. 588. 

gone into here. If the tenon is very thin it will be weaker than 
the sides of the mortise (Fig. 586). If very thick, the sides of 
the mortise will be too thin and will be weaker than the tenon 
(Fig. 587). One third of the width is as thin as a tenon is often 
made, It will then sometimes be weaker than the sides of the 

424 Wood-Working for Beginners 

FIG. 589. 

mortise, as you can see from Fig. 588. But it all depends on 
what the joint is for. If it is to stand violent wrenching, the 
tenon in this case might break before the mortise-cheeks, and 
had best be made a little thicker, with the sides of the mortise a 
little thinner ; but, on the other hand, if the joint is merely to 
hold the tenon-piece in position, as in case of a 
post resting on a sill, one third is plenty wide 
enough for the tenon, as it will be best not to 
weaken the sill by cutting any larger mortise 
than is necessary. Sometimes the tenon-piece 
is simply let in to the other piece for its full 
width. This is called housing (Fig. 589). Two 
thirds of the width of the piece is thicker than you will be likely 
to have occasion to make a tenon, as this leaves the cheeks 
of the mortise very thin. It is wholly a matter of judgment (be- 
tween, say, one third and two thirds of the width), according to 
the conditions of each job. 

The length to which a mortise can safely be cut is also a matter 
of judgment according to circumstances. If the tenon is thin, 
the mortise can be longer than if the tenon is thick, as the cheeks 
will be thicker and stronger, but, as a rule, avoid trying to make 
very long mortises, unless the tenon is 
very thin and the wood very strong, as 
there will not be strength enough left in 
the cheeks of the mortise (Fig. 590). 
Six times as long as it is wide is about as 
long as it is well to make a mortise 
under ordinary circumstances, though, 
as just said, it all depends on the con- 
ditions of the particular piece of work. 
When a wide piece is to be mortised 
into another piece, two or more tenons 
are sometimes cut, thus avoiding too 

FIG. 590. 

FIG. 591. 

long a mortise, but this will not do for very wide pieces, unless 
some of the tenons are fitted loosely, for the expansion and 

Tools and Operations 


contraction of the wide piece may cause it to buckle or split if 
all the mortises fit snugly (Fig. 591). 

In such cases as a door-frame or when the end of a board is 
to be fitted into the side of a post, a tongue and groove is often 
used in addition to the tenon, and this (known as " relishing") 
is a good way to do (Fig. 592). 

The mortise and tenon given above is a very simple form. 
Sometimes the tenon is short and does not go through (Fig. 

FIG. 592. 

FIG. 593. 

593). This is a common form, and is used a great deal in the 
best work. It is sometimes called blind mortising, the tenon 
being known as a " stub " tenon. 

Mortise and tenon joints are sometimes merely fitted together, 
but can also be glued (see Gluing), pinned, wedged, or dove- 
tailed and fastened with a key. 

To pin a mortise and tenon, simply mark a point with square 
and gauge upon each side of the piece containing the mortise 
(Fig. 593), fit the tenon in place, and bore in from each side (or 
in rough work bore right through from one side until the spur 
appears on the opposite surface) (see Boring). Then drive through 
a snugly fitting pin and trim off the projectig ends. The pin 
should be slightly pointed before driving, on the same principle 

426 Wood-Working for Beginners 

that the end of the tenon is bevelled. It is not necessary to 
round the pin. An eight-sided one is just as good. 

Do not use too large pins. In ship-building, bridge-building, 
and old-fashioned house-framing pins and treenails from i" 
to if" or more in diameter, are used. Dowels of various sizes 
will usually answer for such framing as you may have to do 
(though a rift-pin is stronger). For such work as pinning a joint 
in a chair, you will not need anything larger than a " hardwood 

You must use judgment as to how near the edge to place the 
pin. If you put it too far from the edge, its hold on the tenon 
will be weak and the end of the tenon may break out (shear). 
If you put it too near the edge, the sides of the mortise may tear 
or split out. 

Sometimes, particularly in timber work, to insure a snug fit at 
the joint, " draw-boring " is resorted to (Fig. 594). The hole for 
the pin is not bored through the tenon as just shown, but is bored 
a trifle nearer the shoulder of the tenon than the other holes 
(in the mortise-piece). The result is that when the pin is driven 

FIG. 594. 

FIG. 595. 

through it draws the tenon-piece down to a snug fit at the 
shoulder. But this has to be done with judgment. If the hole 
in the tenon is too much out of line, driving the pin through tends 
to split (strictly speaking to shear) the end of the tenon, and too 
much strain is put on the pin. 

In the mortising just shown, there are only two shoulders where 
the tenon begins that is, the tenon is made by only four cuts. 
This is good for all common or rough work. In nice work a 
shoulder is also cut at each edge of the tenon (Fig. 595). This. 

Tools and Operations 


makes a neater-looking joint, as these shoulders cover the ends 
of the mortise completely. When the joint comes at the end of 
the mortise-piece, the tenon can extend to the edge on the out- 
side and the mortise be cut clear out to 
the end, forming an open mortise-and- 
tenon joint (Fig. 543), or a wide 
shoulder can be left on the outside of 
the tenon the tenon itself being made 
narrower (Fig. 596). This course is 
adopted in doors and frames of various F , G , 6 

kinds (see Fig. 334). 

A good way to fasten tenons is to wedge them. This can be 
done whether the tenon goes through the mortise-piece or only 
part way, as in a blind joint. The wedges can be driven between 

FIG. 597. 

the tenon and the ends of the mortise (Fig. 597), or, as is often 
better, driven into cuts made in the tenon itself, thus spreading 
the tenon toward the end, dovetail fashion, making it extremely 

FIG. 600. 

FIG. 598. FIG. 599. 

difficult, or impossible, to pull it out of the mortise. Before wedg- 
ing, the mortise should be cut under or enlarged toward the side 
on which the tenon comes through (Fig. 598). The wedges can 

428 Wood-Working for Beginners 

then be dipped in glue and driven as in Fig. 599. To spread the 
tenons themselves, one or two or even three saw-cuts should be 
made in the tenon, lengthways and farther than the wedges will 
extend (Fig. 600). The tenon and mortise having been properly 
glued, the tenon is fitted in place, and the wedges, previously pre- 
pared of some strong wood and tapering quite gradually, are 
dipped in the glue and driven down into the saw-cuts, thus 
spreading the end of the tenon into a dovetail until it fills the 


FIG. 601. 

FIG. 602. 

mortise (Fig. 601). It is often best to drive the outer wedges 
nearer the edge of the tenon than is shown in Fig. 600, lest the 
tenon-piece be split. 

The process is much the same when the tenon does not go through 
the mortise-piece (Fig. 602). The mortise is undercut as before, 
and saw-cuts are made in the end of the tenon. The wedges are 
carefully planned and cut so that, when the tenon is finally in 
place, they will be of the right size to spread it so as to fit the 
mortise. The wedges must not be too long, so as to interfere 
with the tenon being driven home or to break off. When you 
are sure the whole will go into place and fit snugly, glue every- 
thing, start the wedges in the cracks, and drive the tenon quickly 
to place. This will of course drive in the wedges, which will 
spread the tenon at the end and fix it firmly. In fact, if well 
done, you cannot get it out again. 

There are other forms of mortise and tenon, but they will be 
seldom required by the amateur. See Joints. 

Nailing. To drive nails, hold the hammer near the end of 
the handle. Do not, as is often done by boys and amateurs, 

Tools and Operations 


grasp it close to the head. The nearer the end of the handle 
you take hold, the harder blow you can strike, just as the longer 
the handle, the harder the blow. Use light strokes mere taps 
in starting the nail. After you are sure it is going straight you 
can then use more force to drive it home. Do not try to sink 
the nail-head quite flush with the wood. Leave that for the 
nail-set. You may think that any slight depression you may 
make if the hammer strikes the wood will be too slight to be seen, 
but that is not so, as the slightest dent or depression will prob- 
ably show in finished work. 

The head of the hammer should be swung back and forth 
through an arc of a circle of which the wrist is the centre. Do 
this carefully and steadily and you will send the nail in quicker 
and straighter than when you flourish the hammer wildly around 
in the air and bring it down with a ferocious bang somewhere in 
the vicinity of the nail, as boys of all ages have been known to 

Now, remembering that the hammer-head will (and should) 
swing around in an arc of which your wrist is the centre, you 

FIG. 603. FIG. 604. 

must see that your wrist is in such a position that the hammer- 
head can strike the nail squarely that is, the hammer-handle, 
when the head rests squarely on the nail-head, must be in a line 
parallel with the flat surface of the top of the nail (Fig. 603). If 
the wrist is much above or below this line, the nail will be struck 
slantingly, and either be driven crooked or bent (Fig. 604). 

43 Wood-Working for Beginners 

First place the hammer in the correct driving position, and 
then swing it back and forth as nearly in the same curve as 
you can. Practise this motion a little on a soft piece of board 
to see how squarely you can dent the board and how nearly you 
can hit the same dent with successive strokes. 

Frequently a nail does not drive straight, but becomes bent and 
goes in the wrong direction. If you withdraw it do not, as a rule, 
try to drive another in the same hole, but start it in another place. 
Sometimes a nail will be bent because the face of the hammer- 
head has glue or grease on it. In such a case rub it on a piece 
of fine sandpaper or in the ashes or the ground. 

Holes should always be bored when there is any chance of 
splitting, or when slender nails are driven into hard wood (lest 
they bend), but remember that the hole, particularly in the inner 
piece, should not be quite as large as the nail. With nails hav- 
ing large heads it does not mat- 
ter in hard wood if the holes in 
the outer piece are about as large 
as the nails, provided the latter 
drive tightly into the inner piece. 

The hole made by a bradawl is 
better, when it does not split the 
wood, than one made by a bit or 
drill, because it does not remove 
the wood but merely presses it 
aside, so that when the nail is 
driven the fibres tend to spring 
back to their original position and 
close in around the nail, helping 
to hold it in place. 

In driving the old-fashioned 
nails, which have two sides paral- 
lel, while the other two incline toward the point or taper, 
they should be used on the same principle on which you use the 
bradawl. If placed the other way, the wedge shape of the nail 

Tools and Operations 431 

will tend to separate the fibres and split the wood (Fig. 605). 
With nails having two sides smooth and two rough, as you pick 
them up you can tell by the fingers which way to hold them, 
the rough sides going across the grain and the smooth sides with it. 

Nails will drive into hard wood easier if you touch the points 
to grease, tallow, lard, or soap. 

" Toe " Nailing. If you wish nails to hold as much as possi- 
ble, toe them that is, slant them (Fig. 606). You can see 

FIG. 606. FIG. 607. FIG. 608. 

at a glance that the board will be held much tighter than if the 
nails were driven straight up and down. Of course you cannot 
always drive nails this way, and there are many cases in which 
you would gain nothing, but it takes only a moment longer to 
toe nails, and it is often very useful where you wish to be sure 
that the work will hold together. There are many cases where 
you cannot nail any other way, as when you fasten a stud to the 
top of a sill (Fig. 607), and you can see at once that it is advan- 
tageous. Of course this is not a good method for work which 
you may wish to take apart again. 

Slanting the nails helps to draw one piece tightly up to another, 
as is often desirable for a tight box or a floor (Fig. 608). You 
can increase this effect, after you have driven the nail part way 
in, by drawing the hammer towards you as you strike, or in the 
direction towards which the nail points, thus bending the upper 
part of it toward the other piece, which tends to make a tight 

Clinching Nails. The way to clinch nails is simply to drive them 
through against a heavy hammer, or any solid metal object, held on 
the other side. As the point comes through it is gradually turned 

432 Wood- Working for Beginners 

over or hooked around into the wood and when the head is driven 
home the point will be firmly embedded in the wood. Another 
way is to simply strike the projecting ends with light, slanting 
blows. This will gradually bend or curl the point over to one 
side, and as it bends over you can pound more directly downward 
until the hooked end of the nail is buried in the wood. Clinch- 
ing is very useful for many purposes, as in nailing cleats on a 
shed door. It is usually best to bend the nails over in the direc- 
tion of the grain, rather than across it. 

Whether to clinch or toe the nails must depend on the work. 
Clinching is better for anything that is to be slammed or sub- 
jected to violent treatment, while in many cases toeing is better, 
and frequently you cannot reach the points of the nails to clinch 

Blind nailing is resorted to in order to have a clear, smooth 
surface, as in floors laid with matched-boards. Each board is 
nailed just above the tongue, with the nails slanting through the 
solid part of the board (Fig. 609). This holds the board down 
and tends to force it closer to the adjoining board. The grooved 

edge of the next board en- 

FIG. 609. 

FIG. 610. 

tirely conceals the nailing 
and leaves an unbroken 

Another form of concealed 
nailing, known as "sliver" 
nailing, is sometimes 
practised in inside work 
(sometimes in putting up " inside finish "). A little shaving is 
raised with the gouge (an inside gouge is best) or a narrow chisel, 
where the nail is to go, and curled away sufficiently to drive and 
set the nail (Fig. 610). Hot glue is then dabbed into the groove, 
the shaving (which is only raised at one end and not detached 
from the wood) is pressed back into place, and the spot rubbed 
with sandpaper drawn around a flat block until the shaving is 
firmly glued where it belongs. This takes but a moment or two, 

Tools and Operations 


and when the work is finally smoothed and finished the place can- 
not be detected, if the operation has been properly done. This 
is convenient to know in case you have to drive a nail where 
there is objection to its being seen. 
See Withdrawing Nails. 

Nails. There are many kinds of nails, many more than is 
worth while to specify here, as you will probably use those of 
wire for most of your work. When another kind would be 
preferable (as is the case for some purposes) it will be specified. 
The nails in common use before the introduction of those of wire 
were known as " cut," being stamped from a sheet of metal, and 
' ' wrought, ' ' the latter kind being much older and originally forged 
by hand into shape, one by one (hence the name), but now com- 
monly made by machine. The expressions three-penny, eight- 
penny, ten-penny, etc., indicate the length, and come from an 
old custom of so designating the lengths, but you need only to 
call for them by the length, as 2 inch or 2f inch, in order to get 
what you want, and you can easily select whatever degree of 
stoutness you need. Copper or galvanised nails and tacks will 
be needed for your boat-building, copper being preferable, par- 
ticularly for salt water. 

FIG. 611. 

Nail-Set, or Punch. The nail-set, for sinking nail-heads 
below the surface, is quite important, and it is well to have a 

434 Wood-Working for Beginners 

large one and a fine one. The end of the set or punch must not 
be allowed to become rounding or it will be all the time slipping 
off the nail-head and punching holes in the surrounding wood. 
A slight conical depression in the end of the set is good. Do 
not use a file for a nail-set, for the end is too hard and will dent 
the face of the hammer-head. 

When setting nails, hold the nail-set firmly against the little 
finger, placing the latter on the wood close to the head of the 
nail, as shown in Fig. 611. This will keep the set from slipping 
off the nail-head and damaging the work. 

Nippers. A pair of these will often be of use in wood-working 

Odd- Jobs. A very simple combined tool known as " Odd- 
jobs" can be used as a marking-gauge, mortise-gauge, scratch- 
awl, try-square, T-square, depth-gauge, mitre-square, spirit-level 
and plumb, inside-square, and beam-compass. It is well suited 
to much amateur work, and is cheap. 

Oil. Sperm oil is good to use with your oil-stones. Kero- 
sene is good. Lard oil can be used. All thick and gummy oils 
should be avoided. Never use linseed oil or any similar vegetable 
oil, as it is not a good lubricator, and gums the stone. Glycerine 
thinned with turpentine or alcohol is sometimes used, and even 
turpentine alone. For oil for finishing and painting, see Finish- 
ing and Painting. 

Oil-Stone. It is very essential to have a good oil-stone. They 
can be found of many degrees of fineness. Those of very fine and 
hard grain, which give a keen edge but cut very slowly, will not 
be found so well adapted to your use as those of moderate coarse- 
ness and softness, which cut faster. The stone known as Red 
Washita is good to use for wood-working tools, as it cuts rapidly. 
It should be free from hard spots. The Arkansas stone pro- 
duces a very fine edge, but is of so fine texture that it is not so 
well adapted for your tools as a coarser stone, unless you happen 

Tools and Operations 435 

to find a quick-cutting one. The Turkey stone will produce a 
keen edge, but is not so good for your use. 

Some stones (and excellent ones) cut best with water. When 
first trying a new stone use water, and if the surface does not 
become at all glazed or polished it will not be necessary for you 
to use oil. 

The stone should always be kept covered when not in use, to 
protect it from the dust and dirt. Set it in a block with a cover 
or make a box for it. Always wipe it clean after using, to re- 
move the paste of ground stone, steel, and oil left on the surface. 

When an oil-stone becomes unevenly worn, it can be trued by 
rubbing it around on a sheet of sandpaper fastened on a flat sur- 
face, like the side of a board. Water can be used in this 

In addition to the ordinary flat oil-stone, slips of stone of various 
shapes are useful, a common and useful * 
form being that shown in Fig. 612, wedge- / 
shaped on one edge and convex on the 

., T r i \r 4. i FIG. 612. 

other. If you have V-tools, carving 

gouges, or other tools sharpened on the inside, you must have 
slips of stone of various shapes with which to sharpen them. 
See Oil and Sharpening. 

Painting. You can paint your work very satisfactorily per- 
haps not quite as well or quickly as a skilled painter by trade, 
but well enough for all practical purposes if you observe carefully 
a few simple principles. If you disregard them and think, like 
many amateurs, that anyone can paint right off the first time 
without any knowledge or thought, your painting will be botch- 

Keep your work well painted. It is cheaper in the end to 
paint frequently and keep the work protected from the decay and 
damage due to exposure not to speak of the better appearance. 

Do not use cheap paint, unless, of course, for some cheap or 
temporary purpose, and it is most important that the first or 

436 Wood-Working for Beginners 

" priming " coat should be of good quality. If you are obliged 
to use inferior paint at all, use the best for the first coat and the 
poorer quality outside rather than the reverse, but it is economy 
of money and time to use good paint throughout. 

Prepared liquid paints are the simplest, handiest, and cleanest 
for amateur work, and (if you do not try to economise on the 
quality) the best for you to use for many purposes, but for out- 
side work (work exposed to the weather) you can probably do no 
better than to use the best quality of white lead and oil, 1 coloured 
if desired, which costs less, is more durable, and which you can 
easily mix yourself, or buy already mixed of a painter. If you 
need but a little, you can get a pot of paint with suitable brush at 
a paint shop, returning what you do not use and paying by weight. 
But if you have much painting to do, it is better and cheaper to 
have your own brushes and paint. The prepared paints of any 
colour you can also buy in the form of paste, to be thinned when 
used, which is usually cheaper than the prepared paint in liquid 

The white lead you can buy by the pound, ground and already 
thinned with oil, or, what is perhaps more reliable, ground in the 
form of paste ready to be thinned with oil or, if for inside work, 
with turpentine. White lead, which is also the basis or an in- 
gredient of the prepared paints, is a poisonous and unhealthful 
substance. There is, however, but slight danger (practically 
none) from such painting as you will do. But it is well to wear 
old clothes when you paint, and carefully wash the hands and 
face as soon as the work is done, and in case of continued indoor 
painting to see that the room is well ventilated. The mere odour 
from a can of paint is enough to make some people feel ill, as 
you may know, while it can be used for a long time by others 
apparently without harm. 

In regard to coloured paints, the simplest way is to buy your 

1 This seems to be the common opinion among experienced men. There are, 
however, many painters of experience who prefer the prepared liquid paint for 
outside work, and it certainly saves trouble. 

Tools and Operations 437 

colours ready mixed in oil, to be thinned for use, or in liquid form 
of any desired colour, prepared to use upon opening the can. 
You can, however, colour or tint your paint yourself with various 
dry colours, which you can buy in the form of powder at the paint 
shops for a few cents. It takes but very little of most colours. 
Do not stir these dry colours directly into your paint, but first 
mix them with oil or turpentine. 

It requires considerable knowledge of colours and their com- 
binations to know how to mix different colours or shades to pro- 
duce some particular shade, or to match some tint, but when the 
exact shade makes no difference you will have no great difficulty 
in producing the colour you wish. Test the shade of your paint 
on a piece of wood. The way it looks in the paint-pot is often 
very deceptive. In making a shade darker, especially when 
tinting white paint, be careful to add but a very little of the darker 
pigment at first and be sure that it is thoroughly mixed, or you 
will be likely to find after you have begun to paint that you have 
a much darker shade than you intended. It is surprising how 
small a quantity is sometimes needed to tint a whole canful of 
white paint the merest dab of chrome yellow will tint a quart of 
white paint to a good cream shade. Remember that it is much 
easier to add a little more colour if the result is not dark enough 
than to lighten the shade if too dark. 

Linseed oil (either raw or boiled) is required with which to 
mix the lead and thin it to the proper consistency. Raw oil is 
best for outside work that is exposed to the weather, as it is more 
penetrating and more adhesive, although slower in drying than 
boiled oil. Boiled oil does very well for inside work where it is 
not exposed to the weather. There is some difference of opinion, 
however, in regard to the use of the two kinds. 

Turpentine is also used for thinning paint. It makes the paint 
flow easily and is freely used for that reason, but it probably de- 
tracts from the durability of all paint if used lavishly and should 
never be used for outside work. It is commonly used for inside 
work and causes the paint to work more freely and smoothly 

43 8 Wood-Working for Beginners 

from the brush and to dry more quickly. It gives the paint that 
dull, soft, or " dead " appearance often desired in inside work, 
instead of the shiny surface which is produced when mixed with 
linseed oil alone. 

It is usual to add to the paint something else, known as a 
" dryer," to cause it to dry more quickly. Japan is one of the 
best of these preparations, but be careful to use very little of any 
form of dryer, as it is undoubtedly injurious to the durability of 
the paint and liable to cause cracking and checking. Avoid all 
kinds of " chain-lightning " dryers. Do not add a dryer to the 
colour until just before you use the paint and only to the amount 
you are to use at one time. 

Another ingredient, which is not injurious to use, is zinc, but 
zinc paints are considered inferior. Red lead is commonly used 
to paint iron and is considered very durable for that purpose. 
Black japan 'varnish is often used. Iron must always be dry and 
it will be better to have it warm also. 

Be sure that your work is thoroughly dry before beginning to 
paint, else the wood will be liable to decay, or the paint to peel, 
or both. Do not paint wood before it is thoroughly seasoned. 
Look the work over carefully and see that it is ready in all re- 
spects, before applying the paint. See that the surface is free 
from dust. 

Look over the work for any knots or streaks of resinous or 
pitchy matter and wash them with a coat or two of shellac, to 
" kill " the turpentine and prevent its oozing through and spoiling 
the paint. 

Try to mix enough, and only enough, paint for the coat you 
are about to put on, but do not mix a great quantity in advance 
with the idea of keeping it on hand. 

The first coat should be thin rather than thick with plenty of 
oil to saturate the wood. The oil will be quickly drawn into the 
wood, and you can readily see that the first coat should be thin 
to properly soak into the surface. If thick, the paint will not be 
sufficiently absorbed, but the oil will soak in quickly, leaving too 

Tools and Operations 439 

much residue of the pigment on the outside. Work this first 
coat well into the wood. Take up but little paint, and draw the 
brush carefully over the edge of the pail, 1 or over a wire stretched 
across the top, to remove any superfluity of paint, and begin the 
painting at the highest part of the work, or the part farthest from 
you, to prevent spattering or dripping paint over the freshly 
covered surface. Begin, also, at one end or side of the surface, 
working toward the other end or side, drawing the brush back 
and forth both ways to distribute the paint as evenly and smoothly 
as possible, and try not to leave any part of a surface untouched 
until another time, or it will be likely to show a " lap " where 
you end and begin that is, if you cannot cover the work en- 
tirely at one time, leave off where there is some natural line or 
break in the work. Finish the side or the end and do not leave 
off right in the middle of a flat surface. This does not matter 
quite so much in thepriming,but will show plainly in the later coats. 

After this coat has had time to dry thoroughly, carefully putty 
the holes and cracks. Remember never to use the putty until 
after at least one coat of paint has been applied and dried. The 
reason for this is that the fresh wood will quickly absorb the oil 
from the putty, leaving it dry and crumbly, while if a coat of 
paint has been put on first and dried, the wood will be already 
charged, so to speak ; the pores will be more or less choked up 
and the bulk of the oil will remain in the putty. 

Paint with the grain of the wood, or the long way of the work, 
using a large brush for large surfaces and finishing all corners, 
mouldings, and edges with a small brush. In doors or panel- 
work first paint the panels, then the rails, then the styles (see 
Fig. 505). You will thus follow the construction of the work 
and the grain of the wood, and where you daub the paint beyond 
the part you are painting (as you will have to do), the daub will 
be wiped out neatly when you paint the next part. 

Paint joints in outside work, tenons and mortises, shoulders, 

1 It is not a good plan to wipe brushes on the sharp edge of a tin can, as it 
injures the bristles. 

440 Wood- Working for Beginners 

etc., before putting together, with good white lead. It is not 
always customary to paint the hidden parts of joints before put- 
ting together, particularly in cheap work, but it is well to do so 
in all work which you wish to have endure, in all framework ex- 
posed to water and the weather, and in boat-building. Exposed 
work quickly decays at the joints and seams because the water 
and dampness collect in such places and do not run off or evap- 
orate as readily as from a smooth surface, so the more you can 
protect these hidden parts with paint, the better, and the labour 
is but slight. 

When you have paint left in the paint-pot which you wish to 
keep for use another time, pour just enough raw linseed oil over 
the top to cover it completely. This thin layer of oil will exclude 
the air and keep the paint from hardening. When you wish to 
use it again, pour off the oil or stir it into the paint, according to 
whether the latter requires more oil or not. When you get 
through painting, if you are going to do more in a short time, it 
will do to leave the brush in the paint, but do not leave it stand- 
ing or resting on the bottom of the can, as that tends to bend the 
ends of the bristles and get the brush out of shape. Rig a wire 
hook on the handle and hang the brush so that the bristles will 
be covered by the paint, but without touching the bottom. If 
you are not going to use the brush again for some time, it should 
be cleaned and put away. Turpentine is often used, but kero- 
sene answers every purpose. Be careful to wash out all the 
paint, however, as a very little left between the bristles will 
stick them together so as sometimes to ruin the brush. Another 
way to keep brushes which are in use is to hang them from the 
handles in a can partially filled with oil, the whole being kept 
covered. Water can be used instead of oil. Arrange it so that 
the hairs will be just covered. 

The first coat especially should be given plenty of time to dry, 
for it is the foundation and basis of the whole operation and the 
firmness and durability of the painting depends much upon it. 

Each succeeding coat should have plenty of time to dry before 

Tools and Operations 441 

applying another, bearing in mind that applying a second coat, 
before the first is fully hard, excludes the air from the under 
layer of paint and causes it to dry much more slowly than if left 
exposed as it should be. In such cases, the outside surface may 
often seem to be dry and hard while the paint underneath re- 
mains comparatively soft. When the first layer finally does dry, 
the tendency is to crack the surface of the outside, which has 
dried first. You can find an extreme illustration of this point in 
some old paint and varnish shop where some convenient place 
on the wall has been taken against which to slap and work 
brushes. You can find daubs of old paint and varnish, some- 
times an inch thick, made up in this way of hundreds of layers 
slapped on before the previous ones were dry, the inside remain- 
ing soft in some cases after twenty years. 

Paint dries, as a rule, more quickly in a warm temperature than 
where it is cold, and more quickly where it is dry than where it 
is damp. So, if you are obliged to paint where it is cold or damp, 
you will be justified in using more dryer than where it is warm 
and dry. 

Sandpaper nice inside work after the first coat and between 
each two successive coats. Pumice can be used for old inside 
work to be repainted. Steel wool can also be used. 

Keep a rag with you, when painting, to wipe off the spattering 
which you will be sure to make. It is not easy to get daubs of 
paint off after they are hard. 

Turpentine will take the paint from your hands, but common 
kerosene will clean them satisfactorily when the paint is fresh, 
and is probably better for the hands. 

Panels. See Doors and Panels. 
Panel-Saw. See Saw. 

Paring. In paring or trimming a piece of wood to a line, if 
there is much surplus wood to be removed, you can sometimes 
chop pretty boldly with the hatchet until you get near the line, 
provided you watch the direction of the grain carefully to see 

442 Wood- Working for Beginners 

that the split cannot run up to the line ; sometimes you can chop 
safely in one direction but not in the opposite (Fig. 613), but 
as a rule keep well away from the line for the first cut. Even 

wood that appears to be 
quite straight-grained will 
often split differently 
from the way you expect. 
To trim a piece of 
wood, like the edge of a 
board, down to a line, 
with a hatchet, for in- 
stance, you can first score 
the piece with a series of 
short cuts, stopping short 
of the line, to break up 
the grain of the wood, and then trim these loosened chips off 
down to the line with the plane, chisel, draw-knife, or whatever 
tool may be suitable. The main point is to cut in such a direc- 
tion that the grain will not cause the cuts to extend farther than 
the line or to run into the main piece of wood (Fig. 614). The 
same principle can be applied often in trimming and removing 
superfluous wood with a chisel, a draw-knife, or a knife. The 
cuts can often be made with the saw to better advantage (Fig. 
614). It takes a little more time to make these cross-cuts with 

FIG. 613. 

FIG. 614. FIG. 615. 

hatchet, knife, chisel, or saw than to whack away furiously length- 
ways, as if you were chopping kindling, but after you have spoiled 
a few pieces by splitting beyond the line you will conclude that 
the fprmer is the more workmanlike and reliable way. 

Tools and Operations 


This same principle is applicable to making chamfers or bevels 
with a chisel or knife (Fig. 615). You will find frequent occasion 
to apply this principle of breaking the grain into small pieces be- 
fore making the final cuts in many kinds of work. It is in con- 
stant use in " roughing out " carving. 

To trim to a curve as shown in Fig. 616, begin at the edge just 
outside of the end of the curve and 
work with the grain from a to b. It 
is often a help in such cases to first re- 
move part of the wood with the saw, 
as on the lines be and then ef. Finally 
trim the curve smoothly close to 
the line. Frequently this can be done 
to better advantage with the work 
held in the vise instead of lying horizontally on the bench. 

Paring off superfluous wood down to a given line or trimming 
off an irregular edge with the chisel is very easily done provided 
the grain of the wood is straight, or runs in the same direction, 
even if slanting, as in Fig. 617, because you can then cut with 
the grain. It is often better, however, to cut across the grain, or 

FIG. 616. 

FIG. 617. 

diagonally, with the chisel, as the wood is less likely to be split 
by the tool. 

When the grain runs in several directions, and keeps cropping 
up to the surface and dipping down again as shown in Fig. 701, 
it becomes more difficult to pare the surface smoothly with the 

444 Wood- Working for Beginners 

chisel. In such a case remember the sliding or drawing stroke 
and traverse the surface with a diagonal crossways motion 
(Fig. 619) that will trim off the fibres with a slanting stroke with- 
out causing them to be torn up. Slant the cut so that if the 
wood should tend to split, it will be in the direction of the part 
cut away and not towards the piece to be kept i. <?., so that the 
chips will spilt and not the body of the wood. Reverse the chisel 

and cut in the oppos- 
ite direction when a 
change in the direc- 
tion of the grain re- 
quires it. Some 
pieces are, however, 

FIG. 619. so extremely irregular 

that you cannot do 
this, but must slice away the best 
that you can and leave the rest to 
other tools. In cutting off a 
corner or rounding or bevelling 
an edge you can use the slanting 
cut (Fig. 620). 

In using the chisel for paring, 
let the left hand, which is nearer 
the cutting-edge than the right, act as a brake or countercheck 
or drag to check the progress of the tool. It is largely by the 
varying balance of these two forces the pushing forward of the 
tool with the right hand and the checking and controlling with 
the left that correct and effective control of the tool is gained. 
The left hand should in many cases rest upon or grasp the wood 
as well as the blade. See Chisel. 

Paring-Chisel. See Chisel. 
Parting-Tool. See Carving Tools. 
Pencil. See Marking. 

FIG. 620. 

Tools and Operations 445 

Pincers. There are various kinds of pincers, pliers, and 
nippers. A pair of common pliers and also cutting nippers will 
be very useful. 

Plane. A plane is in principle (roughly speaking), as you 
will readily see, nothing but a chisel stuck through a block of 
wood or iron. Small or narrow surfaces may be smoothed to a 
certain degree by the chisel, the knife, or even the hatchet, but 
for large surfaces something is needed which can be more exactly 
controlled than the knife, ax, or chisel, held in the hands. So, 
to hold the chisel firmly in one position and to apply force to it 
more advantageously, it is firmly fixed in a block of convenient 
size and shape and becomes a plane. 

A very short block will prevent the chisel cutting deeper at one 
point than another, but the tool will follow the irregularities of 
the surface and, though it may make the surface smooth, it will 
not make it level, or flat; so the block is made longer, that it 
may not go down into all the little hollows, but plane off only the 
higher parts. 

The two essential parts of a plane are the iron and the stock. 
The bottom surface of the stock 
is called the sole or face (ab in Fig. 
621), the wedge-shaped hole where 
the iron goes is called the throat 
(c\ and the slot at the bottom w 

through which the edge of the 

, , ,, FIG. 621. 

iron projects is called the mouth (a). 

Bear in mind that the shape of the cut made by the plane will 
be a reversed copy of the shape of the cutting-edge. If the edge 
is rounding, the cut will be hollowing. If the edge is hollowing, 
the cut will be rounding. If the edge is straight, the cut will be 
straight. If the edge is nicked, ridges will be left on the wood. 

If buying new, you will do best, as a rule, to get iron planes, 
though very good ones can be had with wooden stocks, but with 
the convenient appliances of the iron planes. Some workmen 


446 Wood- Working for Beginners 

still prefer the old wooden planes, but it is better to buy iron 


The jack-plane is used for coarse work and to rough off the 

surface with large shavings, ready for the other planes. Four- 

teen or fifteen 
inches is a good 
length. The edge 
of the iron i s n o t 
ground squarely 
across, like the 

chisel, but is 
FIG. 622. FIG. 623. , , ,. , , 

rounded slightly so 

as to cut deeper in the middle (Fig. 622). Heavy shavings 
can be cut and the rough outside of a piece of wood taken off 
quicker and easier than with a more squarely ground iron, but 
it does not leave the surface smooth, as the strokes of the jack- 
plane from a series of hollows and ridges (Fig. 623, exaggerated). 
After taking off the rough surface with the iron projecting con- 
siderably, you can of course set the iron finer, and by going over 
the work several times you can take off the worst of the ridges, 
but without a great deal of labour you can never get a really 
smooth surface with a plane that cuts hollows. A common use of 
the jack-plane is for " traversing," or planing across the grain, 
which is often the quickest and easiest way to reduce a surface to 
the desired shape, and for cleaning off where pieces have been 
glued together. If you should use a jack-plane to do the work 
of a fore-plane, have it ground more squarely across like the fore- 

If you use an old-fashioned wooden plane, take the handle in 
your right hand, laying your left over the top and side, just a 
little in front of the iron, with the thumb towards you and the 
fingers on the farther side, as shown in Fig. 624. This position 
allows you to bear weight on the fore part of the plane when 
necessary and to control the tool to the best advantage. This 
applies to the old-fashioned wooden planes. If your plane is 

Tools and Operations 


iron, there is a handle or knob for the left hand which you simply 
grasp in a natural way. 

Push the jack-plane forward steadily an arm's-length. Then 
stop and start afresh for another arm's-length stroke. When 

FIG. 624. 

drawing the plane back tip it on the farther edge. The cap or 
break-iron can be set quite far back from the edge for rough 
work, about one eighth inch, but much nearer for finer work. 

In these days when almost everything is planed by machinery 
with greater or less smoothness, you will probably not have much 
use for a jack-plane unless you find you have a good deal of 
rough planing to do yourself. 

The fore-plane or trying-plane is longer and larger than the 
jack-plane. Eighteen to twenty-two inches is a good 
length. It is used to straighten and level the surface 
after the worst roughness has been taken off. The 
surface having been roughed off by the jack-plane, 
the fore-plane is not required to take off such heavy 
shavings and the iron is therefore ground squarely 
across like a chisel, but very slightly rounded at the 
corners (Fig. 625). It is held in the same way as the jack-plane, 

448 Wood-Working for Beginners 

but the stroke should be long and steady, for the fore-plane, which 
is long, will straighten the surface, and smooth it also. The iron 
can project more for soft and loose-grained woods than for hard, 
and the cap or break-iron should be nearer the edge for hard 

The jointer (22" to 30" in length) or long jointer (from 24" 
to 30"), is still longer than the fore-plane and correspondingly 
more accurate for making a surface level and true, or for shoot- 
ing the edges of boards. Twenty-four inches is a good length. 
It is very useful for making joints to be glued, and is used in 
the same way as the fore-plane, the stroke being continued 
steadily the whole length of the piece if possible. 

The smoothing-plane is used, as its name indicates, for the final 
smoothing of the surface, so far as it can be done with a plane. 
It is from five to ten inches long. 

It is an invaluable plane to the amateur, and the beginner can 
get along very well for a great deal of\work with no other, for 
stock can be bought ready planed and can easily be trued and 
jointed, when necessary, at any wood-working mill or shop at 
slight expense. 

A plane with a short stock, as the smoothing-plane, will make 

FIG. 626. 

your work smooth, but it is hard to make it straight and level or 
true with such a tool, because, being short, it will follow the 
larger irregularities of the surface and will only plane off the 
smaller inequalities. It will go up and down over the hills and 

Tools and Operations 449 

valleys of the wood, so to speak, while a longer plane cannot do 
this, but will cut off the tops of the hills until the surface is made 
level, as shown in Fig. 626. The smoothing-plane is therefore 
merely to smooth the surface after it has been straightened by a 
longer plane, or in cases where smoothness only is essential and 
it is not required that the surface should be true. Small pieces 
can, of course, be straightened and trued by the smoothing-plane 

A wooden smoothing-plane can be held as shown in Fig. 627. 

FIG. 627. 

An iron plane can be used by laying the hand naturally over the 
knob for the purpose. 

The block-plane is small and is meant chiefly for planing across 
the ends of pieces (for planing " end-grain "), but it is also fre- 
quently useful in other directions. The iron is usually set at a 
more acute angle with the face of the stock than in the other 
planes and with the bevel upwards, and the width of the mouth 
is often adjustable, which is a convenience. A block-plane is 
made which can, by means of a detachable side, be used as a 
rabbet-plane. The block-plane makes a quite good substitute 
for a smoothing-plane for amateur work and is a very useful little 

The toothed-plane is about the size of the smoothing-plane, 
but the iron is corrugated or scored with grooves lengthwise, 
so that one side of the cutting-edge of the iron, instead of being 
smooth, is notched into little teeth somewhat like a fine saw 

45 Wood-Working for Beginners 

or the edge of a file, and the iron is inserted in the body of the 
plane almost vertically. This plane makes scratches all along its 
course instead of taking off shavings. It is used in veneering 
and in gluing other surfaces. It can frequently be used to good 
advantage to break up the grain where two edges or surfaces are 
to be glued together, so that the glue may hold the two rough 
surfaces together more strongly, upon somewhat the same prin- 
ciple that the plastering on a lathed wall holds its place tightly 
through the hold it gets on the cracks between the laths, intention- 
ally left for the purpose. The toothed-plane is used for this 
purpose in veneering. The idea upon which this tool is based 
originated with the Orientals, who have for ages scratched or 
toothed the joints of their woodwork. 

It can also be used to subdue a refractory piece of crooked grain 
which you wish to get smooth, but which may crop to the surface 
in such a way that you cannot plane it without chipping the 
grain. By scratching the surface thoroughly in all directions 
with the toothed-plane set very fine, the obstinate fibres can be 
broken so that the surface can be smoothed with the scraper, not 
using the smoothing-plane. As a matter of fact, however, if you 
cannot smooth a piece of wood, the trouble is usually with the 
edge of the plane-iron or its adjustment, or with your manner of 
planing, for a very keen edge is supposed to be able to cut the 
most obstinate grain, unless, of course, the wood is extraordinarily 

The bull-nosed-plane has the iron close to the fore end of the 
stock, to work into corners and awkward places which cannot be 
reached by the smoothing- or block-planes. The iron is reversed. 
A very small plane (perhaps four inches long) of this kind is 

The circular-plane is used for planing curved surfaces, the sole 
being now made of a thin, flexible metal plate and adjustable so 
that either concave or convex surfaces can be smoothed. It is 
very useful at times, but is not essential for an amateur. 

The rabbet-plane, which is used to cut rabbets, as the name in- 

Tools and Operations 

dicates, is a useful tool, but in most cases you can dispense with 
it by having rabbets cut at a mill. 

A router, for cleaning out and smoothing the bottoms of grooves 
and depressions, is very useful at times. 

There is a variety of other planes for special purposes, as the 
plough, matching-planes, hollcnu and round planes, beading-planes, 
etc., as well as various combination and "universal" planes. 
Many of these are excellent, but, as a rule, are not important for 
the amateur in these days, as the work they do can be so easily 
and cheaply done at a mill. You will seldom feel the need of buy- 
ing any of them, unless you live where you cannot reach a factory. 

You will find it important to bear in mind the purpose of the 
cap or dull iron screwed upon one side of the cutting-iron, in 
what are called " double-ironed " planes. A plane with a single 
iron, like a chisel, will cut satisfactorily and easily for straight- 
grained, soft wood, and for hard wood when planing with the 
grain, but many pieces of stock are difficult to plane, because the 
grain does not run in the. same way, but turns and twists, crop- 
ping up to the surface and dipping down again in all sorts of 
curious and perplexing ways. In planing them the wood is 

FIG. 628. 

FIG. 629. 

likely to be continually chipping or tearing and breaking off 
below the surface, instead of planing smoothly like a piece of 
straight-grained pine, leaving dents and rough hollows over the 
surface. The natural tendency of the plane-iron is to split the 
wood in front of the iron in such cases (Fig. 628). To remedy 

45 2 Wood- Working for Beginners 

this the plane has a double iron. An iron or cap with a dull 
edge is screwed on to the face of the cutting-iron (Fig. 629) 
so as to help bend and break off the shavings before the split 

gets fairly started (Fig. 630), 
'when the iron can cut it smoothly 
off. The thickness of the shav- 
ings is greatly exaggerated in the 
cuts for the sake of illustration. 
The cutting edge is said to have 
lead " in proportion to the dis- 
FIG. 630. tance it is in advance of the cap- 

iron. The cap can be set some little distance from the edge for 
the jack-plane, as far as an eighth of an inch, but with the fore- 
plane and smoothing-plane it must be set quite close to the edge, 
the distance varying according to the character of the wood. The 
more crooked or cross-grained the wood, the nearer the dull iron 
is brought down towards the edge of the sharp one. The nearer 
the edge, the smoother the result, but the harder to work the plane. 
Something more than the break-iron is required, however, to 
insure breaking the shavings. There must be an angle, against 
which they can be broken, close in front of the cutting edge and 
above the shaving. This angle is the forward edge of the mouth 
or slot in the sole 
through which the 
iron projects (Fig. 
631). Thus the 
width of the 
mouth makes a 
difference in the 
smoothness of the 
surface, for a 
narrow mouth is 

FIG. 631. 

necessary to ensure the shaving being readily broken by the cap. 
With a wide mouth, the shaving will not be broken by the cap in 
time, because there is no corner against which to break it. 

Tools and Operations 453 

With straight-grained wood this does not make so much differ- 
ence, but with crooked and broken grain narrowness of mouth is 
quite essential to a smooth surface, provided that the opening is 
wide enough to allow the shaving to pass through freely. Rough 
and knotty wood requires the mouth very narrow and the iron 
set very fine (/. e., projecting but very little from the sole) and 
the cap quite near the edge. 

The modern iron planes have simple appliances for setting or 
adjusting the projection of the iron from the sole and thus regu- 
lating the thickness of the shaving. If, however, you are obliged 
to use the old-fashioned wooden planes, you raise the iron 
in the same way that you loosen it for removal, by lightly 
tapping on the top of the fore end of the stock, keeping hold of 
the plane with the left hand so as to prevent the iron falling 
through if loosened too much. When the iron is raised enough, 
fix it in place by tapping on top of the " chip " (Fig. 621, <?) or 
wedge which holds it in place. To lower the cutting edge, loosen 
as before and, checking the edge with the finger, let it project the 
required distance, which you can tell about by looking along the 
sole (Fig. 632), and fix in place by tapping the "chip" as before. 
This is the process used in removing the iron for sharpening and 
replacing it, the chip being removed as well as the iron. Any 
carpenter will show you the operation. Always hold the plane in 
the left hand in all these adjusting operations. Do not strike or 
tap any part of it while it rests on the bench or on anything solid. 

To smooth a rough piece of wood, use first the jack-plane, to 
remove the rough surface and superfluous wood, and then the 
fore-plane, to straighten and smooth the surface. If there is no 
need to have the surface true, but only smooth, you can omit 
using the fore-plane and follow the jack-plane at once by the 
smoothing-plane. With ordinary machine-planed stock you do 
not usually need the jack-plane, though it is sometimes useful in 
reducing a piece of wood to a given shape. 

Before beginning to plane, see that all dirt or grit which might 
dull the tool is brushed from the surface. 

454 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Turn the plane over and sight along the sole (Fig. 632), not 
merely to see that the iron projects to the required degree, but 
also to see that it projects equally, lest one side or corner of the 

iron should cut more 
deeply than the other, 
and thus make a groove 
or scratch on the wood 
(Fig. 633). The latest 
iron planes have appli- 
ances to adjust any in- 
equality of this sort, 
but if your plane is not 
so arranged a little tap- 
ping on one side of the 
upper end of the iron 
will correct the 
trouble. Try the plane 
on a waste piece before 
beginning on nice 

FIG. 632. 


Plane with the grain, as a rule, and the fibres will be cut off 
cleanly where they crop up to the surface and your work will be 
left smooth. If you plane against the grain, some of the fibres 
will tend to splinter or chip off just below the surface before they 
are cut off (Fig. 634). 

Stand behind the work with the plane before you. Plane 
with the arms (and from the shoulder), not with 
the whole body. Try to shove the plane straight 
ahead, also to plane as equally and evenly as pos- 
sible over the surface; for while it is comparatively 
easy to get a surface smooth it is quite another 
thing to keep it true or to make it true if warped 
or winding. FG - 6 33- 

The natural tendency, and a common fault, is to begin and 
end the stroke as shown in Fig. 635. Rolling the body back and 

Tools and Operations 


FlG . 634> 

forth, instead of pushing steadily with the arms from the shoulder, 
aggravates this trouble. The result of this way (which is uncon- 
scious at first) is that the surface after planing is apt to be as 
shown in Fig. 
636. To prevent .p 

this, press down 
with the left hand 
on the forward 
part of the plane 
during the first 
part of the 
stroke, and with 
the right hand 
on the rear part 
of the plane dur- 
ing the last part 
of the stroke (Fig. 


In planing wood which is dirty or rough, it is best to lift the 

plane from the work when drawing it back for a fresh stroke, or 

to draw it back so that only the point touches the board, or to 

jf ^ draw it back on edge, 

1^1 j^ but in planing small 

surfaces of clean 
wood it is not usually 
worth while to take 
this precaution. 

In planing pieces 
with crooked grain, 
turn the piece when 
practicable, so as to 
plane as much of it 
FlG - 6 37- w jth the grain as you 

can. But many pieces are so crooked in grain that you cannot 
do this. So at times it is well to turn your plane sideways to get 

FIG. 635. 

FIG. 636. 


456 Wood-Working for Beginners 

a slicing cut and cross the grain at an angle (Fig. 638) ; but as a 
rule the plane should be pushed straight forward. 

A few drops of oil rubbed over the face of the plane will make 

it run more smoothly, par- 
ticularly on hard wood. 

Test the accuracy of your 
planing of broad surfaces 
w i t h a straight-edge, the 
blade of a square, or the 
edge of the plane itself (if 
straight). By applying such a straight-edge across the surface 
or lengthways or diagonally you can tell whether your work is 
straight and true (Fig. 639). Also " sight " with your eye. If 
the surface is large or long, winding-sticks can be used (see 
Winding- sticks). In planing edges test lengthways with the eye 
and straight-edge of some sort, and crossways by applying the 
try-square (Fig. 640). (See pointing.) 

It is, of course, harder to plane a broad surface, as the side of 

FIG. 638. 

FIG. 639. 

a board, than a narrow one, as the edge. When planing a flat 
surface, as a board, be careful not to plane off more at the edges 
than elsewhere (Fig. 641), as you will be quite likely to do if 

Tools and Operations 


you allow the plane to tip sideways over the edge instead of 
keeping the sole parallel with the flat surface. 

When planing across end-grain with the block-plane or smooth- 

FIG. 640. 

ing-plane, either secure a waste piece of wood at the side where 
the planing ends, to prevent the edge chipping off, as shown in 
Fig. 642, or plane from both edges toward the middle (Fig. 643). 
The use of the straight-edge will give the necessary clue to the 
process of making warped surfaces true. (See Truing Surfaces.} 

FIG. 641. FIG. 642. 

Whenever you make nice articles from wood planed by an 
ordinary cylinder planer, the wood will seem quite smooth just 
as it is, but do not neglect to smooth it carefully so as to take 

45$ Wood-Working for Beginners 

out all the " planer-marks " or those little corrugations across 
the grain left by the machine will often show clear across the 
room as soon as the work is finished. See 
pages 44, 45, and 46, and also Sharpen- 

Planing. See Plane, Jointing, Truing 

Plank, Laying. See Boards, Laying. 
FIG. 643 Plough.-See Plane. 

Plumb. You can make a plumb-line by merely hanging any 
weight at the end of a cord, when the cord will of course be 
vertical as soon as it stops swinging (Fig. 644). For convenience 
in using hang the cord on a board as shown in Fig. 130. When 
the cord hangs exactly on the line or at the apex of the notch the 
edge of the board will be vertical. 

A long board will give a more accurate test than a short one in 
most cases, just as a long 
plane will make a straighter 
edge than a short plane, for 
the long board will bridge 
over the irregularities of 
the surface to be plumbed. 
For example, to take an ex- 
aggerated case, the post 
plumbed as at a (Fig. 645) 
is vertical, taken as a 
whole; while the same post 

plumbed as at leans a b 

, . FIG. 644. FIG. 645. FIG. 646. 

over, because the short 

board happens to be placed where the surface of the post is not 

When the plumb-line is used to determine a point exactly over 
or under another point, as in surveying, the bob is shaped with a 

Tools and Operations 459 

point like a top (Fig. 646). For making the plumb, see page 96. 
(See also Level,} 

Pod- Bit. See Bits. 

Punch (for Nails). See Nail-set. 

Putty. Common putty is (or should be) a mixture of linseed 
oil and whiting of about the consistency of dough. A mixture of 
white lead worked in with the whiting is, however, superior for 
some purposes, and is better when but one coat of paint is to 
be put on after the puttying. To colour putty, stir the colouring 
matter in a little oil and then work and knead it into the putty 
until the whole is coloured. Keep putty under water. Do not 
leave it wrapped in the paper in which you may take it from the 
painter's, for the oil will be absorbed by the paper and the putty 
will quickly become dry and hard. Use a square-bladed putty- 
knife for flat surfaces, and do not use your fingers. See also 
Holes, To Stop. 

Putty-Knife. An old case-knife can be used (better if re 
shaped squarely across or to an obtuse angle), or, in fact, any 
knife, but a regular putty-knife is best. 

Quill-Bit. See Bits. 

Rabbet. A rabbet is a recess or rectangular groove cut 
lengthways in the edge of a piece of board, plank, or other 
timber (Fig. 284). It is usually better for the amateur to get 
such work done at a mill, when practicable, rather than to do it 
by hand. The rabbet-plane is, however, a very useful tool to 
have. In some cases, as at the end of a piece, the saw can be 
used, the lines for the rabbet having been carefully marked with 
a knife or chisel. The chisel can also be used to make a rabbet, 
much as in cutting a mortise, taking pains when driving the chisel 
down next the line not to cut under or jam the wood beyond the 
line. In the final trimming to the line, the chisel should be held 
with the flat side toward the line. In removing the wood with 
the chisel, it is often best to pare across the grain rather than 
with it (see Paring), 

460 Wood-Working for Beginners 

A stiip of wood can be clamped across the piece exactly on the 
line as a guide for the saw and the sawing be done with the heel 
or rear corner of the saw, keeping the latter close up to the gauge 
stick, and pieces are sometimes even clamped to the saw itself to 
guide it, but such arrangements, though useful expedients under 
some circumstances, are hardly the most workmanlike methods. 

Rabbet-Plane. See Plane. 

Rasp. The rasp only used for wood is a sort of coarse file, 
but instead of ridge-like teeth it is studded with projecting points, 
which tear off the wood more quickly, but also more roughly, 
than the file. It is extremely useful to remove surplus wood and 
to get curved objects roughly into shape. One good-sized half- 
round (or " slab-sided ") rasp will be a great help. See File. 

Rasping. See Filing. 
Reamers. See Bits. 

Repairing Furniture. To repair thoroughly to make 
things as strong as when new and to leave no sign of the mend- 
ing often requires more skill and ingenuity and more general 
knowledge of wood-working than to make new articles. Skill in 
repairing comes not merely from general knowledge of wood- 
working, but from experience and ingenuity in applying your 
knowledge to new problems. You will rarely have two jobs of 
repairing just alike, even if of the same kind, and the variety is 
almost endless. It is, therefore, impossible to give rules to cover 
all the different cases. In fact, to attempt to give complete 
directions for repairing would be to describe the majority of opera- 
tions used in wood-working, and the reader is referred to other 
parts of the book for whatever information it may contain. Sug- 
gestions on one or two points may, however, be of use. 

Suppose the arm of a chair comes off, after having been stuck 
on with glue perhaps a dozen times. How is it usually mended 
each time it comes off ? The family glue-pot, containing the 
dregs of all the glue used since it was bought, is put on the stove, 

Tools and Operations 


a little water poured in, and as soon as the glue gets warmed into 
a thick paste a lot of it is daubed on to the joints, on top of the 
thick coating they already have, and the arm pushed as nearly 
into place as it will go. It is then usually left for a few hours 
and sometimes even tied on with a string while the glue dries. 
Of course it sticks for a while and then the usual result follows. 

Now how should you go to work to do this properly ? First 
clean off all the old glue. This is important. You want to put 
the fresh glue on the wood, not on top of the old glue ; but do 
not scrape away the wood in getting off the glue so that the parts 
will no longer fit. Next, see whether the pieces will fit together 
as they should. If they will, then contrive some way to clamp 
them in place while the glue is drying. Sometimes hand-screws 
will do this, sometimes clamps, sometimes a rope twisted, and 
often it will take all your ingenuity to contrive any arrangement, 
but clamped they must be if you wish to be sure of a good job. 

The pieces often make an angle with one another, or are 
curved, so that the 
clamps or hand-screws 
will not hold, but slip as 
fast as you tighten them. 
In such a case the 
method shown in Fig. 
647 can often be used. 
Screwahand-screw firmly 
on each side of the joint, 
rubbing chalk on the 
insides of the jaws to 
help prevent slipping, 
and putting on the hand- 
screws so that the jaws 
will be parallel. Then, 

by using two other hand-screws, those first put on can be drawn 
towards one another and the joint firmly closed. Then proceed to 
glue the parts as with new work. For the way to do this see Gluing. 

FIG. 647. 

462 Wood-Working for Beginners 

In patching old work with new wood, pains should be taken to 
have the wood match as well as possible, and, as a rule, pare or 
trim the new pieces after they are glued in place rather than be- 
fore. Staining to match the older parts is often required (see 
Staining}. See also Holes, To Stop. 

The repaired joint may never be quite as strong as a new one, 
therefore it is well to reinforce it with a block glued and screwed 
on the under or inner side, in cases where this can be done with- 
out injuring the appearance, as inside of the frame under a chair, 
sofa, or table. 

It is not uncommon, particularly in work which has come apart 
several times, for the tenons to be too small. If you can glue on 
thin pieces to make the tenon larger, trimming them afterwards 
to fit, it will be the best way; but if the conditions do not admit 
of this, a little muslin, laid in glue, can sometimes be wrapped 
around the tenon as the latter is fitted to place. The same can 
sometimes be done with round pins or dowels. The expedient of 
splitting and wedging tenons and dowels can often be applied in 
repairing (see Mortising and Dowels}. 

Sometimes you may find it necessary to use screws in places 
where the heads will show. In such cases first make, when pos- 
sible, a neat round or square hole with bit or chisel of sufficient 
diameter to admit the head of the screw and deep enough to allow 
a shallow plug to be inserted after the screw has been set (see 
Holes, To Stop). The hardest part in finished work is to make 
the patch match the rest of the work. 

See also Gluing, Clamps, and whatever other operations may be 

Ripping-Saw. See Saw. 

Rivets. In heading rivets hold another hammer or piece of 
metal, or have someone else do so, against the head of the rivet 
while upsetting the other end. 

Rounding Sticks. It is often required to round sticks for 
poles, masts, spars, arrows, and a great many other purposes. 

Tools and Operations 463 

First plane the piece until it is as nearly square, in section, as 
you can make it. Then use the form shown on page 95, 
which will hold the squared stick firmly while you plane off the 
corners, making it eight-sided. Be careful not to plane the cor- 
ners off too much, for the eight sides of the stick should be as 
nearly alike as possible. Next, if the stick is large enough, plane 
off each of the eight corners so that it will be sixteen -sided. 
This is about as far as you can go in this way, unless the stick is 
very large. Set the plane quite fine for taking off these corners 
or you may plane off too much before you know it. The rest of 
the rounding you must do with light, fine strokes, testing by eye 
and by passing your hand over the work (for you can judge a 
great deal by the sense of touch). The rasp and file can often 
be used to good advantage. The spokeshave is good for the final 
smoothing, followed by the scraper or glass (both of which can 
be curved) and sandpaper. The latter can be used crosswise as 
well as lengthwise. Cut it in strips and pull it back and forth 
around the stick, much as bootblacks put 
the final polish on shoes with a strip of 
cloth (Fig. 648). 

To hold large sticks for this final shap- 
ing and smoothing you can put them in 
the vise, but if there are several, and 
large, it is better to contrive some way to 
hold them after the fashion of the centres 
of a lathe. For one centre, drive a nail 
or screw through a block or stick of wood 
and screw the block in the vise (Fig. 649). Make the other 
centre in the same way and fasten it at such a distance from the 
first centre that the stick will just fit in between the two. Just 
how to fasten this second centre will depend on the length of the 
stick to be rounded and the arrangements of your shop, but you 
can easily contrive some way to hold it. The stick held between 
these centres will be clear of everything and can be turned 
around without trouble. The middle can be supported, if 

464 Wood-Working for Beginners 

necessary, by a piece of board or a strip lightly nailed to the 

Masts and spars should be " natural sticks," if possible, and 
the final shaping and smoothing will be all they will require, for 
which some such apparatus as that just described will save time 
and trouble. 

To round small sticks, as spars for model boats, arrows, etc., 

FIG. 649. 

the same process should be followed so far as the small size of the 
sticks will allow, as you can of course shave more accurately with 
the plane, on account of the long guiding sole, for the same degree 
of effort, than with any " free-hand " tool like the knife. But 
when the stick is quite small it is hard to hold it firmly, and it is 
also too much covered by the plane. In such cases turn Japanese. 
Fasten the plane bottom-up in the vise (or even hold it in your 
lap if you have no vise) and pull the stick along the sole of the 
plane instead of pushing the plane over the stick. But look out 
for your fingers when you do this, for a plane-iron in this position 
has a great appetite for finger-tips. 

In filing a short, round stick, one end can often be rested on the 
bench and the stick turned around towards you as you file. 

A good way to finish the shaping of such small sticks is to hold 
your knife with the edge downward close against the side of your 
leg just above the knee. Then pull the stick up steadily between 
your leg and the knife. The leg acts as a sort of gauge to steady 
both the stick and the knife and with care you can cut a very 
even shaving in this way. 

One very important thing to bear in mind in all these rounding 

Tools and Operations 465 

operations is that you will rarely find wood with absolutely straight 
grain, except in " rift " stock or natural sticks (and in these there 
are often seemingly unaccountable twists and crooked streaks); 
so you need to keep constant watch of the direction of the grain, 
for even a slight turn of the stick will often bring the grain wrong 
with relation to your tool, and one false cut running in too deep, 
or even across the stick, will spoil the work. 

Router. See Plane. 

Rule. A rule with which to lay out your work and measure 
your stock is one of the first tools of which you can make use. A 
two-foot rule, folding once, is the most convenient for shop-work, 
but the more common kind, folding to six inches in length, is more 
convenient to carry around away from the shop. One brass- 
bound (with brass edges) is more durable, but hardly as con- 
venient to use as the common cheap kind, which will answer every 
purpose until it breaks. 

To mark distances with the rule for accurate work, lay the rule 
on edge so that the di- 
visions marked on it will 
touch the wood and not be 
an eighth of an inch above 
it, as they are when the 
rule lies flat (Fig. 650). 
You can thus mark the 
points more accurately. ~ G , 

Sandpaper. The fineness of sandpaper is indicated by num- 
bers oo (the finest), o, |, i, i|, 2, 2$, and 3 (the coarsest). You 
will use the fine and medium numbers more than the very coarse 
ones, and will seldom require coarser than i-J. Test sandpaper, 
when buying, by rubbing the sand a little with your hand to see 
if it is securely stuck on, and tear the paper a little to see if it is 

Never use sandpaper until all the cutting with the tools is done. 

466 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Sandpaper with the grain, except for work which is to be painted. 
The proper use of sandpaper, as a rule, for such work as you 
will do, is merely to give a little extra smoothness, to take out 
little scratches, to round edges, and the like, but not to cut away 
the wood and scrub it into the shape you wish. To use it much, 
except to skim over your work, is apt to get you into a slovenly 
style of working, and the result will lack the sharp accuracy of 
good work. Do not rely on the sandpaper to remove the defects 
in your work. Do the work right and you will need but little 
sandpaper, except in a few operations which will be specified 
when there is occasion. 

For flat surfaces it is well to fold the sandpaper over a flat 
block of cork or wood (Fig. 651), the edges 
of which have been slightly rounded. If 
the surface is curved, the block should be 
curved correspondingly. A piece of thick 
rubber or leather which can be bent to fit 
the surface is excellent. Care should be 

taken not to round the corners and edges of the work when sand- 

In sandpapering any very delicate piece of work, when the edge 
might get rounded or the surface scratched by the stiffness of 
even the finest sandpaper, as in rubbing down finished work, split 
the paper, which you can easily do by removing the outer layer 
of paper from the back, when the remaining part to which the 
sand adheres will be much softer and more flexible. 

Saw. Saws are used for cutting across the grain and with the 
grain and there are various kinds for special purposes. 

The cross-cutting saw is used, as the name indicates, for cutting 
across the grain of wood and for ordinary work. The blade is 
usually thicker at the teeth than at the back, to stiffen it and to 
enable it to pass through the wood more freely. From 18* to 24" 
is a good length for a cross-cutting saw (or more commonly called 
panet-sa.w) for your work, with about eight to ten teeth to the 

Tools and Operations 467 

Examine the teeth (Fig. 652) and you will see that they are 
pointed and sharp, somewhat like the point of your knife, and that 
they cut across the fibres much the same as your knife does when 
you hold it upright and draw it across a board. 

You will notice, also, that the teeth are alternately bent out- 
wards, one tooth being bent out to one side, the next to the 

FIG. 652. FIG. 653. 

other side, this spreading of the teeth (which is called the 
" set ") making the saw wider at the points of the teeth than else- 
where. You will also notice that the sharp cutting edge of each 
tooth is on the outside. This set, and the way the teeth are 
sharpened, makes the cut wider than the thickness of the blade, 
thus giving the saw " clearance " and enabling it to slip back and 
forth easily and without "binding" (Fig. 653). As a practical 
matter of fact, however, it is nothing uncommon for a saw to bind 
in the cut, either from not sawing straight or from the wood clos- 
ing on the saw (see Fig. 695). The teeth not only cut or break 
off the fibres in parallel lines at the points of the teeth, but also 
tear off and remove the bits of wood (/. e., the sawdust) between 
these parallel cuts. 

The degree to which the teeth are set and the number of teeth 
to the inch depend upon the use to which the saw is to be put 
and the kind of wood to be used. Of course the finer the teeth 
the smoother the cut. Cross-cut saws are usually sharpened 
differently for soft and for hard wood, but little set being required 
for the latter, while the former needs a wider set to give the blade 
clearance, because the fibres of the looser-textured soft wood are 
bent aside by the tearing action of the saw teeth and are not so 
cleanly cut off as in the hard wood. 

We have examined the teeth of the cross-cut saw and have seen 
that they cut across the grain of the wood very much as the point 

468 Wood-Working for Beginners 

and edge of a knife, and that the fibres, being cut or broken or torn 
off in fine pieces, are removed from the kerf by the teeth. Now to 
saw in the direction of the grain, instead of across it, we use a saw 
based on a different principle. As we used little knives to cut 
across the grain, so we use little chisels to cut with the grain. 
Look at the teeth of the ripping-saw and you will see that they 
are little chisels sharp only at the end (Fig. 654), though not as 
acute as chisels for obvious reasons. These sharp ends, which 
are square (Fig. 655, showing set) or may be oblique, cut or tear 

FIG 654. 

FIG. 655. 

FIG. 656. 

off the fibres, and the front edges of the teeth push the pieces out 
of the cut. The teeth of the cross-cut saw are filed so that the 
front cutting-edge is drawn across the wood in the most effective 
way, much as you would draw the knife-point across, while the 
teeth of the ripping-saw are pointed forward at a more acute 
angle so that the cutting-edge is pushed through the wood, some- 
what as you push a chisel. 

The ripping-saw cuts only on the down stroke. It is not suit- 
able for use directly across the grain, as it tears the fibres when 
pushed across them much more than the cross-cut saw. The 
ripping-saw usually has larger teeth than the cross-cut saw. From 
5^ to 8 points to the inch will do for your work. The ripping- 
saw usually cuts best when held slanting rather than at right 
angles with the board (Fig. 656), as you can easily understand 
when you think how a chisel works best in paring at the end of 
a board. 

If the cut closes up after the saw so as to " bind ' it, drive a 

Tools and Operations 469 

wedge (or even a screw-driver or chisel) into the crack so as to 
open it enough for the saw to work freely. Binding of the saw 
from this cause is very common in making long cuts. When you 
come to a hard knot in splitting you can sometimes gain by taking 
the cross-cut saw to cut through it. 

You will probably get most of your splitting done at a mill and 
will not have to depend on hand ripping-saws so much as your 
grandfathers did. 

The back-saw should have, for your use, from 10 to 16 teeth to 
the inch and be perhaps 12 inches long. The blade is very thin 
to insure a finer and more accurate cut than can be made with 
the common saw, and therefore requires care in using. It has a 
back (whence the name) made of a thin piece of brass or iron 
put on so as to give the blade the necessary firmness. 

This is an exceedingly useful tool, with which and a common 
panel saw you can do a great deal of work without any other. 
The back-saw must be used with care, for the blade is so thin 
that a little wrenching will spring it out of shape in spite of the 
strengthening back. 

In the compass-saw the blade is very narrow, being about one 
inch at the broadest part and diminishing gradually to about a 
quarter of an inch at the other end. It is about fifteen inches 
long and is employed in cutting curved forms. As the blade is 
narrow and tapers towards the back and the teeth have a wide 
set it will cut a small circle. Notice that the teeth of the com- 
pass-saw are a sort of a compromise between those of the ripping 
and cross-cut saws, which enables them to cut freely either way of 
the grain, as is of course necessary in sawing curves. 

The turning- or bow-saw is much better for any work with which 
the bow will not interfere, and is a very useful tool at times. Get 
one with handles which turn so that the blade can be turned to 
saw at an angle with the frame. You will need a few extra blades 
of different widths. The main thing to be borne in mind is to 
make the cut square with the surface. It is easier to follow the 
line than to secure a cut at right angles to the surface, 

470 Wood-Working for Beginners 

The keyhole- saw, which is even smaller than the compass-saw, 
is used for cutting quicker curves, as for a keyhole. It has a 
handle like that of a chisel, with a slot cut through from end to 
end. There is a screw on one side, so that the blade may be 
fixed at any length, according to the size of the hole to be cut 

FIG. 657. 

A good kind, which can be used for both compass- and keyhole- 
saws, has a handle into which various blades can be fitted. 

Compass- and keyhole-saws are difficult for beginners to use 
without bending, twisting, or breaking their thin and narrow 
blades. Most of your curved sawing can be done better with a 
turning-saw or at a mill by a band- or jig-saw. If done at the 
mill, have a piece of waste wood put on the under side to prevent 
the burr, or ragged edge, left by the sawing. 

A common way to test saws, when buying, is to take the handle 

Tools and Operations 

in one hand and bend the point of the saw around in a curve 
sideways and then let the blade spring back, which it should do 
without being permanently bent or sprung. 

Do not saw from one side of the line. Have your eyes above 
the line so that you can look on both sides of the saw (Fig. 657). 

FIG. 658. 

This will help you to keep the saw-blade at right angles with the 
surface of the wood. 

Hold the saw firmly with the forefinger pressed against the side 
of the handle to help guide and steady it (Fig. 657). 

Having placed the saw just at the outside edge of the line and 
on the farther side of the piece, seize the wood with the left hand 
and hold the thumb against the blade (above the teeth) to help 
start the cut in the right place (Fig. 658). Aside from the danger 
of the saw jumping and damaging the wood unless guided by 
the thumb, it is liable to cut your left hand. 

You can make a little notch with the knife or chisel on the 

472 Wood-Working for Beginners 

FIG. 659. 

outside of the line, to help start the saw, in the case of nice work, 
if you wish. Cut straight in just on the line and then make a 
sloping cut to meet this from outside 
the line (Fig. 659). First draw the 
saw gently backwards, guiding it by 
the thumb, with as little pressure on the 
wood as possible until you see that the 
cut is started right, then push it gently 
forward, and after a few easy strokes in 
this way to get the cut started right, keep on with long, steady 
strokes, but not long enough so that the end of the saw enters the 
kerf, lest it catch and the saw buckle. The saw should cut most 
on the downward motion, not on the up stroke. 

With a sharp saw, there is nothing gained by bearing down 
heavily on the teeth, which may spring the saw and make crooked 
work. Rather let the saw run of itself with an easy, light stroke, 
guiding it carefully, and not letting it press on the wood on the 
up stroke. The more hastily and furiously you saw the poorer 
the result will probably be. 
When you begin to run 
off the line, as you will be 
pretty sure to do, twist the 
saw a little with the wrist 
as you go on, which will 
bring it back to the line, 
because of the kerf being 
wider than the thickness of 
the saw-blade. 

Beginners are apt to 

bend the saw over to one FIG. 660. 

side. You can tell whether 

it is cutting at right angles with the face of the board by testing 
with the try-square as shown in Fig. 660. Such a test as this is, 
however, too inconvenient for ordinary practical work and you 
should learn as quickly as you can to hold the saw-blade correctly. 

Tools and Operations 473 

At the end of the cut, as at the beginning, saw gently with 
quick, light strokes, and hold the piece which is being cut off 
with the left hand, lest it break off and splinter one of the two pieces. 

If the saw " binds " or does not work easily, you can for your 
rougher work put a little tallow, butter, lard, or lubricating oil on 
the blade, but beware of doing this for your nice work, or it will 
deface it when done. If the binding is caused by the springing 
together of the wood (Fig. 695) the crack should be wedged open. 

Do not get into the habit of sawing a little way outside of the 
line and then trimming off the superfluous wood with your knife 
or a chisel. That is not a good way to learn to saw by a line. 
Try your best to make the cut where it should be (even if you do 
make mistakes for a good while) and thus get into the habit of 
doing it right without having to rely on any other tool than the saw. 

Many pieces of wood can better be screwed in the vise for saw- 
ing instead of being laid on the horses, and this position is often 
preferable. In this case you grasp the wood with the left hand 
and use the saw as already described. (See Sharpening). 

Saw-Filing. See Sharpening. 
Sawing. See Saw. 

Saw-Set. Various contrivances can be bought for setting 
saw teeth. When you get to the point of needing one you can 
easily find a variety from which to select. 

Scraper. The scraper is made of saw-blade steel (frequently 
from an old saw) and may be of any shape or size to suit the work 
required of it. A common form for scraping flat surfaces is rectan- 
gular like a postal-card, and a good size is from 2" x 4" to 3" x 5". 

A piece of glass makes a good scraper for almost every purpose 
except where a flat, true surface is required. It is good to smooth 
the handle of a paddle, for instance, but not good for scraping the 
top of a nice table. For many rounded surfaces glass is fully as 
good as a steel scraper, but for general use the latter is much 
better. The following directions may be of use when you wish 

474 Wood- Working for Beginners 

to break glass to use for a scraper: " Take the back of a knife, 
or the smooth, straight edge of any piece of iron fixed with toler- 
able firmness for a moment, then, taking the piece of glass in both 
hands, rest its edge midway between them on the edge of the iron ; 
let the upper edge of the glass lean from you, and push it gently 
along the iron, so as slightly to indent the edge of the glass; then, 
reversing its position so as to make it lean towards you, draw it 
smartly along the iron, and you will find it separated by a clean 
fracture directly across, forming a line more or less curved, and 
leaving one edge of the glass much sharper than the other. By 
a little practice, and by pressing a little more with one hand than 
the other, almost any curvature that the work to be done may re- 
quire may be achieved " (Lord and Baines, Shifts and Expedients 
of Camp Life). 

The edge of the scraper is turned over so as to form a sort of 
hooked edge or angle (Fig. 66 1), which when pushed over the 


FIG. 661. 

surface scrapes off 

thin shavings. To 

smooth a flat surface 

the scraper can be 

held with both hands, 
between the fingers and thumb 
(Fig. 662), and pushed along 
in the direction towards which 
it is inclined. Sometimes one 
end of the scraper is held be- 
tween the thumb and fingers of 
the left hand and the palm of 
the right hand applied below to 
push the tool along. As a rule 

scrape with the grain, and it is often advantageous to hold the 
scraper obliquely to the grain when pushing it forward. In case 
of some crooked and twisted grain you will find it best to scrape 
in any and in all directions. 

You can make scrapers yourself by filing and grinding pieces 

FIG. 662. 

Tools and Operations 475 

of old saw-blades. It is very convenient to have a number of 
them with edges of various degrees of curvature (both convex 
and concave), but these you can make as you need them. A 
scraper is sometimes set in a stock and guided by handles like 
those of a spoke-shave, and sometimes set in a stock like a plane 
and used in the same manner. A scraper of the latter sort is 
often useful to assist in keeping the surface true when scraping, 
as its flat sole prevents its following all the undulations of the 
surface as readily as the hand-scraper, with which one is apt to 
make depressions by scraping too much in some particular spot. 
But so far as smoothing the surface goes there is nothing better 
than the common hand-scraper or so easily taken care of. For 
sharpening the scraper, see Sharpening. 

In many large places you can get your wood for nice work 
scraped to a satin-like finish by a machine made for the purpose, 
but this is hardly worth while for ordinary work. You can also 
have it smoothed very nicely by sandpapering machines, but this 
is not advisable if there is to be any cutting of the wood after- 
wards, as the grit left in the pores of the wood will quickly take 
the keen edge from your tools. 

The best test for smoothness alone is to run the fingers over 
the surface with a light touch. Great acuteness of touch can be 
acquired in this way. Any experienced woodworker can at once 
detect inequalities with his fingers that he could not possibly see. 
Irregularities in curves can be detected in the same way. 

Bead cutlers or scrapers and reed scrapers and fluters can be 
bought of various patterns. You will hardly need to buy any- 
thing of the sort for some time, as you can make one when re- 
quired. See Beading. 

Scratch-Awl. See Awl. 

Screw-Driver. The screw-driver is too familiar to need de- 
scription, but in buying one see that the end is shaped like either 
of those shown in Fig. 663 and not as shown in Fig. 664. Cheap 
screw-drivers are often made in the latter way. If ground with 

47 6 Wood- Working for Beginners 

FIG. 663. FIG. 664. 

a short bevel (Fig. 664) it will bear only on the top of the slot 
in the screw and will be all the time slipping out, on the principle 
of the inclined plane, while if the sides 
are parallel or concaved slightly the end 
will remain at the bottom of the nick of 
the screw. This is also a help in extract- 
ing screws, as it saves the need of pressing 
against the screw so hard to keep the 
screw-driver from slipping out of the slot. 
It is well to have screw-drivers of different 
sizes, as it is difficult and often impossible to use a screw-driver 
with an edge much too large or too small. 

Remember that a long screw-driver is always preferable to a 
short one, except where lack of space makes a short one neces- 
sary. The reason for this is in the fact that in using the screw- 
driver you do not, as a practical matter, keep it exactly in the line 
of the screw, but keep wobbling it round more or less, which 
gives a leverage in the form of a crank-like action as you turn the 
handle. The longer the screw-driver the larger the circle or 
wobbling curve you describe with your hand and the greater the 
leverage (Fig. 665). 

A screw-driver to be turned by the bit-brace is 
very useful for driving screws rapidly and with 
force, on account of the greater leverage gained by 
using the brace instead of the common handle. 
This is particularly useful where they need to be 
driven in very hard or when tight screws have to 
be loosened. It also saves much time when many 
screws are to be used. It is not advisable to buy 
automatic screw-drivers. They work satisfactorily 
for light work, but are not suitable for such 
wrenching and straining as your screw-drivers are 
liable to be subjected to. You want screw-drivers to which you 
can apply all your strength. See Screws. 

Screws, There are many kinds of screws. You will use the 




FIG. 665. 

Tools and Operations 477 

common wood-screws for most of your work. These are either 
flat-headed or round-headed, and of steel (either bright or blue or 
bronzed or nickled) or of brass. When others are required they 
will be mentioned. It is doubtful economy to buy second-hand 
or waste screws, but a pound or two of " mixed " screws, which 
you can get at any hardware store, will be very useful when you 
want some odd screw for some special purpose. Many of the 
screws in the " mixed " lots, which are sold very cheap, are de- 
fective, but you can often find among them just the peculiar screw 
you need, and so save time and money. 

Nails are often used where it would be better to use screws, 
which will, as a rule, hold the pieces more securely. When work 
becomes loose, screws can be tightened, while nails usually have 
to be redriven. 

To make a screw drive easily, rub the point on a piece of com- 
mon soap. Oil is objectionable for nice work on account of the 
spot made by it. If screws are to be used in places where they 
may rust, it is a good plan to warm them slightly and then dip 
them in melted tallow or lard. They can also be inserted and 
removed more easily for this treatment. Try to keep the screw- 
driver from slipping from the slot of the screw (see Screw-driver). 

In boring holes for screws, considerable discretion must be 
used. The hole in the outer piece (the one nearer the head of 
the screw) should be large enough to allow the screw to slip 
through freely that is, you should not screw it into both 
pieces, but only the inner one, the screw acting somewhat in the 
nature of a clamp to bind the outer piece to the 
inner by pinching it tight between the screw-head 
and the inner piece (Fig. 666). How much of a 

FIG. 666. kole to k ore j n t ^ e pj ece { nto w hich the point of 
the screw enters depends on circumstances. The stouter the screw 
the less hole required. The softer and larger the piece and the 
farther from the edge the less hole required. If the piece is 
small or liable to split, the hole must be carefully made the more 
carefully in proportion to the slenderness of the screw, as a slim 

47$ Wood-Working for Beginners 

screw is liable to twist off in hard wood unless a sufficient hole is 
provided. Brass screws are very apt to do this, and much care 
must be used, particularly with slender ones in hard wood. If 
the hole is a bit too large, they will not hold. If a trifle too 
small, they will twist off, which is very annoying, especially in 
such cases as hinge-screws, for instance, where the place for the 
screws cannot well be changed. The hole should be somewhat 
smaller than the diameter of the screw. In good-sized pieces of 
soft wood there is frequently no need of any hole. 

In rough work, especially in soft wood, the screws may be 
pounded part way with the hammer, driving them home with the 
screw-driver. Some theoretical workman will be quite sure to 
tell you never to do such a thing as that, so be sure to understand 
what is meant. Theoretically there may be some loss of holding 
power by that process, but practically the screws will hold just as 
well for the cases in which you are advised to do that way. 
Judgment must be used about all such things and theories are 
only of value when used by the light of common-sense. For ex- 
ample, if you are screwing the top on a mahogany table or fram- 
ing a nice boat never think of using a hammer to start your screws, 
but if you are putting cleats on an old shed door or screwing up 
a packing-case do not spend an hour and a lot of strength driving 
screws all the way with a screw-driver when you can do the work 
in half an hour by driving the screws three quarters of the way in 
with the hammer. Good practical workmen are just as certain 
to use the hammer in such cases as they are careful not to use it for 
nice work or where the full holding power of the screw is needed. 

Flat-headed screws almost always should be countersunk (see 
Countersink), for neatness if for no other reason, and in hard 
wood you should cut the depression for the head of the screw 
with the regular countersink made for the purpose. This should 
be done for nice work in soft wood where a good surface is re- 
quired, but for common work in soft wood there is no need, as a 
rule, for the head of the screw will sink itself easily until flush 
with the surface. 

Tools and Operations 


If a screw hole requires to be moved a little, but not far enough 
so that a new hole can be bored without the bit slipping into the 
old hole, plug the old hole with a wooden pin dipped in glue, 
and when dry bore the new hole where required. 

See Screw-driver. 

Scribing. Compasses are often used for scribing a line 
parallel to another line or surface, whether regular or irregular, 

FIG. 667. 

FIG. 668. 

in places where the gauge cannot be used. Suppose, for instance, 
you wish to cut the edge of a board to fit the undulating surface 
shown in Fig. 667. Run the compasses along with one point on 
the surface and the other making a mark on the board, and the 
line on the board will be parallel with the surface. 

Another example is that of making a table, bench, chair, horse, 
or any four-legged object stand evenly. If it stands on three legs, 
which is a common fault and likely to 
occur in your first attempts, do not hastily 
saw one leg shorter by guess, and, mak- 
ing it too short, saw another and so on 
until it stands firmly, when the top will 
probably be all out of level. If there is 
any true surface on which you can stand 
the article (right side up), you can level 
the top by wedging under the legs until the corners of the top are 
equally distant from the surface on which the object stands. 

480 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Then setting the compasses at a distance equal to that at which 
the end of the shortest leg is raised (Fig. 668), scribe around the 
other legs, which can then be cut off. 1 
See also Winding- Sticks and Marking. 

Setting Saws. See Sharpening. 

Sharpening. Before attempting to sharpen your tools your- 
self it would be well to read the advice given on page 22 under 
Care of Tools. 

The general process of sharpening edged tools is first to grind 
them to as keen an edge as possible on the grindstone, or the 
emery-wheel, then to smooth down the coarse edge left by the 
grindstone by rubbing on a fine stone with oil or water, and 
finally stropping on leather. The grindstone must be kept wet 
while grinding or the heat caused by the friction of the tool on 
the dry stone will ruin the temper of the steel. Besides, the 
water carries off the waste particles of stone and steel. Stand on 
the side towards which the top of the stone turns. The tool can 
be ground with the stone turning from you, and, in fact, this 
usually seems the natural way to a novice, but it is usually more 
difficult to grind uniformly in that way and too thin an edge (a 
" wire-edge," ragged but not sharp) is apt to be produced, the 
removal of which is difficult without further damaging the edge 
and delaying the final sharpening. 

To grind the point of a knife, it can be moved back and forth 
lengthways with a curving motion, while resting flat on the 
grindstone, and to grind the straight part of the blade, it can be 
allowed to bear very slightly harder near the edge of the stone than 
elsewhere, as it is passed back and forth. 

1 Another method of doing this is to find a true surface to stand the legs on 
and measure the distance the free leg rises from the surface i" for example. 
Do nothing to that leg, of course, or to the one diagonally opposite, but saw 
\" from each of the two other legs. Suppose, for example, the legs a, 6, and 
c touch (Fig. 66g), and d rises " from the floor. Make a and c each f * 
shorter. Of course you cannot hit it exactly by this method, but a few strokes 
of a tool will finish the work. 

Tools and Operations 481 

To grind a chisel, grasp the handle with the right hand, hold 
the blade in the left hand with the ringers uppermost and near 
the cutting-edge. The arms and wrists should be kept as rigid 
as possible, the former at the sides of the body, so that the tool 
may be held firmly against the motion of the stone. Lay the 
chisel with slight pressure quite flatly on the stone and then raise 
the handle until the bevel touches the stone. As you grind keep 
moving the tool slowly back and forth across the stone, which 
helps keep the edge of the tool straight and prevents the stone 
being worn away too much in one place. Use plenty of water. 

The common way of holding the tool on the stone is the one 
just described, but it can also be held at right angles to this posi- 
tion, so that, in the case of a chisel, for instance, the grinding 
action of the stone instead of being from the edge toward the 
handle is from side to side of the blade. The tool is ground 
quicker and easier by this means, and it is a good way to reduce 
the edge to shape, finishing the grinding by the regular method. 

You will see that the curvature of the stone will tend to give 
the bevel a slight curve, in whatever position the tool is held, 
which is advantageous in the common way of grinding. When 
held so that the stone grinds from side to side of the blade the 
tool must be continually turned a little in the hand so that each 
part of the edge will bear in turn on the stone, as, the tool edge 
being flat, and the surface of the stone rounding, the tool would 
otherwise be ground hollowing. It is harder to hold the tool in 
this way, however, without its slipping or making nicks or grooves 
in the stone, and you had best learn to grind in the ordinary 

Try to grind squarely across the chisel that is, to have the 
cutting-edge at right angles to the lengthways edge of the tool. 
Apply the square at intervals to test the accuracy of the grinding. 

The angle for grinding the bevel of such tools as the chisel is 
about twenty-five degrees, but when used for very hard wood the 
angle should be slightly greater, or the edge may be broken. 

Do all the grinding on the bevel. Do not apply the flat side 


482 Wood-Working for Beginners 

of the tool to the grindstone. Any slight burr or turning over of 
the edge on the flat side should be taken off by the oilstone. 

If the edge is badly nicked or broken, you can first straighten 
or grind it down roughly on the side of the stone or by holding it 
nearly at right angles to the stone but with the latter turning 
the other way before grinding in the regular way. 

To tell when the tool is ground sufficiently, hold the edge in 
front of you toward the light. If the edge can be seen as a bright 
shining line it is a sign that the tool is dull. It will not be sharp 
until this bright line has been removed, and the edge has become 
invisible, for a really keen edge cannot be seen by the naked eye. 
Bear this in mind, as it is the final test and the simplest way to 
tell when to stop grinding. 

In grinding on a grindstone and in rubbing on an oilstone, the 
great difficulty is to keep the same angle between the tool and 
the stone, as the natural tendency in moving the tool is to rock 
it back and forth and thus alter the angle between the blade and 
the stone. An arrangement can be bought which preserves the 
desired angle without effort on the part of the grinder. A little 
ingenuity will enable you to rig up a guide or gauge with a piece 
of board which will enable you to replace the tool on the grind- 
stone at the same angle. 

The plane-iron is sharpened in the same way as the chisel, only, 
being wider than most of the chisels you are likely to use, it re- 
quires more care to sharpen. The plane-irons can be ground to 
a somewhat more acute angle than the chisels, although the jack- 
plane, which is used for rough work, may require more strength 
at the edge. 

In rubbing the edge upon the oilstone, do not attempt to smooth 
down the whole bevel made by the grindstone, but first lay the 
tool lightly on the stone as shown in Fig. 6700, then raise the 
handle until the upper part of the bevel is very slightly raised, 
barely enough to clear the stone (Fig. 670^), and then pro- 
ceed with the whetting, thus making a second or little bevel at 
the edge (Fig. 671). 

Tools and Operations 


The tool must be moved back and forth very steadily or instead 
of a second bevel the whole edge will be rounded (Fig. 672) and 
will not have the requisite keenness. The angle of this second 
bevel is usually about ten degrees greater than the long bevel, or 
thirty-five degrees, although the angles of sharpening should be 

varied slightly according to the hardness of the wood and the 
kind of work to be done; but where you have only few tools and 
must use them for all kinds of work you cannot always, as a 
practical matter, pay much regard to such variations, as of course 
you cannot keep regrinding your tools every time you begin on a 
new piece of wood. Just how acute to make the edge you must 
learn by experience, according to the conditions of your work. 

FIG. 671. 

FIG. 672. 

An edge suitable for delicate work in white-pine would be imme- 
diately ruined if used upon lignum-vitae. 

Any little wire edge which is produced on the flat side by the 
process of rubbing on the oilstone can be removed by drawing 
the flat side of the iron over the stone once, but be sure that you 
do not raise the handle at all, as the slightest bevel on the flat 

484 Wood-Working for Beginners 

side of the edge will spoil it. After the tool has been sharpened 
a good many times on the oilstone this smaller bevel (the oilstone 
bevel, so to speak) will become so wide that it is a waste of time 
and strength to rub it down. The chisel must then be reground 
and a new bevel made on the oilstone. 

It is a good plan to have a separate stone or " slip " for the out- 
side bevel of gouges, because it is so hard to avoid rubbing hol- 
lows in the stone, which injures it for the other tools. Care 
must be taken also with very narrow or pointed tools lest the 
stone be grooved or nicked. Gouges can be rubbed at right 
angles with the stone, rolling the tool with the left hand, or by 
the use of a slip they can be rubbed as described below. For 
rubbing gouges on the inside, /. e., on the concave surface, 
rounded pieces of stone, called " slips," are used. These can 
be bought of various sizes and shapes to fit the various curves. 
Do not think, however, that you must try to find a slip that will 
fit each gouge as exactly as if it had been shaped by the gouge 
itself. The curve of the slip may be a little "quicker" or 
sharper than that of the tool, but must not be flatter or of course 
it cannot be made to bear on all parts of the curve. 

In rubbing with the slip, hold the tool upright in the hand and 
rub the slip up and down, moving the slip and not the tool. If 
you rest the tool against the bench, it will steady it and also avoid 
any probability of your finger slipping on to the edge. The more 
common " outside " gouges are not rubbed on the inside, except 
the merest touch of the slip to remove any wire edge or burr. 
The draw-knife is also rubbed with a flat slip, in the same man- 
ner, resting it on the bench. 

In rubbing the knife on the oilstone give it a circular motion 
rather than simply back and forth, particularly for the point. 
The straight part can be allowed to bear a little more heavily 
near the edge of the stone as it is passed back and forth. 

It is much the best way to sharpen tools frequently, as soon as 
they begin to get dull, when they will require but little rubbing 
on the stone, rather than to let them get into such condition that 

Tools and Operations 485 

it is a long and hard job to whet them; and of course the more 
careful you are to keep them sharp, the better work you will do. 

To test the sharpness of your tools, cut across the grain of a 
piece of soft pine wood. If the cut is clean and smooth, the tools 
are sharp, but if the cut is rough or the wood torn, further sharp- 
ening is needed. The reason for using soft wood, which at first 
thought might not seem to require as keen an edge as hard wood, 
is because the fibrous structure of the soft wood, being more 
yielding, offers less resistance to the tool and so is torn or crushed 
apart except by a very keen edge, while the firmer structure of 
the hard wood can be cut smoothly by a tool which would tear 
the soft wood. The difference is somewhat like that between cut- 
ting a fresh loaf of bread or cake and a stale one. 

The edge left by the oilstone can be improved by stropping on 
a piece of leather on which a little paste of lard and emery or 
some similar composition has been spread. This is better than 
to strop knives and other tools on your boots. Any piece of 
leather such as barbers use, or even a piece from an old boot, 
will answer. For flat edges see that the strop rests on a flat sur- 
face, so as not to tend to round the edge, as it may do if held 
carelessly in the hand. See Oilstone and Strop. 

Saw Filing is particularly hard for boys and amateurs to do 
satisfactorily and you are advised not to undertake it until you 
have become quite familiar with the use of tools, for it does not 
need to be done very often, costs but little, and there are very 
few places where you cannot get it done. 

It is not difficult to understand the theory of setting and filing 
saw teeth, but to fix a saw in really good shape is hard for an 
amateur, and for that matter you will find but a small proportion 
of good workmen who are experts in saw filing. Even in very 
small villages there is almost always some mechanic who has 
the knack of putting saws in order better than anyone else and 
who therefore makes quite a business of such work and people 
bring their saws to him from all the country round, even though 
they may be able to fix them tolerably well themselves, so great 

486 Wood-Working for Beginners 

is the advantage in the quality of the work and the saving of time 
in having a saw in perfect condition. You had best do the same, 
and have your saws fixed whenever they get dull. The expense 
is but slight, and there is nothing that will conduce more to good 
work, and to your own success and satisfaction, than to have 
your tools in first-rate working order. 

When you get to the point of filing and setting your saws you are 
advised to take a lesson from a good saw-filer. There are few per- 
sons so situated that they cannot do this, or at least watch some- 
one go through the process, and thus learn much more readily 
than by reading about the process in a book. In fact, it is one 
of those things that it is so hard to learn from a book that merely 
a few remarks on the subject are given here. 

The saw is firmly fastened in a saw-clamp, expressly for the 
purpose, so that it will not shake or rattle. The teeth are 
" jointed," or reduced to the same level, by lightly passing the 
flat side of a file over their points, lengthways of the saw. The 
saw can also be jointed along the sides after filing, but this is 
frequently omitted. 

For a cross-cutting saw the file (a triangular saw-file) is held at 
an angle with the blade depending upon the particular form of 
tooth adopted, as you will see by examination. The handle be- 
ing grasped in the right hand, the point of the file should be held 
between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand (Fig. 526). 
The file must be pushed across with an even, straight stroke, 
without any rocking or up and down motion, pressure being ap- 
plied only on the forward or pushing stroke, the tool being drawn 
back very lightly or lifted entirely on the back stroke. The filing 
is begun at one end of the saw, filing only the teeth which 
bend away from you (/. e., every alternate tooth), carefully keep- 
ing the file at the proper angle, pressing only on the tooth you 
are filing, but keeping the tool lightly touching the adjacent tooth, 
and making allowance for the fact that when you file the alter- 
nate set the passing file will take off a little from the teeth first 
filed- The saw is then turned around and the process repeated 

Tools and Operations 487 

with the other teeth. If you look lengthways along the edge of 
a panel-saw that has been properly filed and set, an angular 
trough or groove will be seen along the whole length, so that you 
can slide a needle along in it from one end of the saw to the 

The ripping-saw is usually filed squarely across the saw (at 
right-angles to the blade), as you will see at once on examination 
of the teeth (Figs. 654 and 655), but sometimes at a more acute 

The teeth are set by bending every other tooth outward, first 
setting those on one side and then those on the other. You 
should do this with some one of the various adjustable tooth- 
setting contrivances sold for the purpose, as it requires a skilled 
workman to set teeth in any other way, and any attempt on your 
part to do so without some instrument adjusted to the purpose 
will probably result in damaging the saw. 

For soft and loose-fibred wood more set is needed than for hard 
wood, because the fibres, which are quite cleanly cut or broken 
in the hard wood, in the more yielding soft wood are bent aside 
by the teeth to close in upon the blade with considerable bind- 
ing force; and less set is required by fine work than for coarse. 
The angles and points of saw teeth can be more acute for soft 
than for hard wood. 

To sharpen the scraper you must have a sharpener or burnisher. 
The edge of a chisel or any piece of very hard steel can be used 
after a fashion, but it is better to have a regular tool for the pur- 
pose, which can be made easily from an old three-cornered file, 
such as is used for filing saws, by grinding off the teeth and 
slightly rounding the angles on the grindstone until the whole 
tool is smooth. Two opposite edges of the scraper are ground 
or filed and the edge then turned over by the burnisher. Some 
workmen grind the edges with an obtuse bevel and use only one 
angle of each edge. Others grind the edges square and use both 
angles of each edge. The bevel gives a slightly keener scraping 
edge than to grind the steel square, but it requires more frequent 

488 Wood-Working for Beginners 

sharpening and the squared edge turned over on both sides is 

likely to be more satisfactory. 

First grind or file the two opposite edges squarely across and 

slightly round each corner to prevent scratching the wood. If 

there is a burr at the edge it 
can be removed by rubbing the 
scraper lightly on the oilstone, 

but this is advisable only for 
FIG. 673. ... ... 

final scraping of very fine work. 

Having thus got the edge at right angles and smooth, lay the 
scraper flat on its side near the edge of the bench and rub the 
burnisher back and forth a few times in the position shown in 
Fig. 673, which is almost flat on the scraper. This rubbing 
bends a little of the steel over the edge. Do this on each op- 
posite edge of the two sides, giving four edges thus curled over. 
Next, holding the scraper as shown in Fig. 674, draw the bur- 
nisher with a firm, even stroke, once or twice, lengthways of the 
edge, as shown. The scraper can be laid flat on the bench, if 
preferred, slightly projecting 
over the edge. Notice that 
the tool should be drawn with 
a slightly end to end motion, 
as shown, which helps turn the 
edge. This turns a fine scrap- 
ing edge, which will take off 
shavings. All four edges are 
treated in the same way. Af- 
ter one edge gets dull, use 
another. When all four are 
dull, resharpen with the burnisher as before, without grinding or 
filing the edge. This can be done a few times, but soon the edges 
will get worn off and rounded, and the scraper then needs refiling. 

Shellac. See Finishing. 
Shell-Bit. See Bits. 

FIG. 674. 

Tools and Operations 


Shelves. Examples of shelves fitted permanently into place 
are given in Chapter X. (on Furniture). Removable shelves can 
most easily be fitted to rest on cleats screwed to the sides of the 
space, but this arrangement does not always look very well and 
the position of the shelves cannot be changed so readily as by 
using screw-eyes driven into the sides under the shelves (Fig. 







LecCae I, 



+ t&A 


I shelf 



^fjr 1 

\\ \ 


FIG. 675 

' 1 

,\ l 

/^=~^rr ~^\ 

675), recesses of 



the right shape be- \ 


ing cut on the un- 

. N 


der side of the 


shelves so that the 

\ 1 ! 



screw-eyes will be 



sunk and not be 

i] 1 ! 





'A I 

^ 1 

position of the 

M U 



shelves can quick- 



ly be changed by 
screwing the sup- 

n 1 1 / | 

FIG. 676. 

ports higher or lower as may be required. Pins and other con- 
trivances to fit in a series of holes can be bought for this purpose. 
A common way to adjust shelves is shown in Fig. 676. The 
construction is obvious. The vertical strips can be laid on edge 
side by side, clamped together, and the notches laid out and cut 
as if there were but one piece. Where a circular saw is available 
the notches are cut on the side of a narrow piece of board which 
is then sawed into the desired strips or " ratchets," 

490 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Shooting-Board. The shooting-board is very useful for 
jointing edges, particularly for short, thin stock. The carpenter 
or cabinet-maker will make you one for a moderate price, or you 
can make one yourself as soon as you become a good enough 
workman (see page 93). 

To use it, the board to be jointed is laid flat on the raised part 
of the shooting-board, where it is firmly held with the left hand, 

FIG. 677. 

with the end of the board pressing against the stop of the shooting- 
board, and the edge to be jointed lapping over the edge of the 
raised part. The planing is done with the plane lying on its side 
on the lower part of the shooting-board (Fig. 677). The cutting- 
edge of the plane thus being at right angles with the surface of 
the board, the edge will be planed squarely across. The shoot- 
ing-board should be fastened on the bench in some way, to pre- 
vent it from slipping around. 

Attachments to keep the sole of the plane at right angles to the 
surface of the piece can be had at any hardware store, and serve 

Tools and Operations 491 

the same purpose as a shooting-board for thick stock, but not 
equally well for thin pieces. 

You can reverse the sides of two pieces to be jointed for 
gluing, as described on page 406, giving a joint like that 
shown in Fig. 678 (which is exaggerated). The iron of 
the plane is sometimes purposely set to project unevenly 
beyond the sole. k& 

If you have many joints to make, you can have the 
edges jointed at slight expense at any woodworking mill 
on a planer made for the purpose. See Jointing. 

Smoothing-Plane. See Plane. 

Smoothing Surfaces. See Plane, Scraper, Sandpaper. 

Splices. See Joints and Splices. 

Spline. A flexible strip, used as a ruler, for drawing curves. 
See Marking. 

Splitting-Saw. See Saw. 

Splitting Wood. We have seen how a log in drying cracks 
along the radial lines (page 31), thus showing the natural lines 
of cleavage or separation in the direction of the medullary rays, 
that is, radiating from the centre. From this we see that the 
wood will, of course, split most easily and smoothly on the radial 
lines. Like all wood-choppers you can often make practical 
use of this fact in splitting wood with a knife or chisel, or in 
splitting fuel with an axe. The next easiest way to split wood 
is as nearly as may be on the line of the annual rings, or tan- 
gential to the line of the medullary rays, in the same direction 
as when the layers separate in forming " cup shakes " (see Ap- 
pendix). This way is sometimes easier than to rive a stout log 
through the centre. 

Spokeshave. The spokeshave is very useful for smoothing 
small curved and irregular surfaces. Metal spokeshaves of vari- 
ous patterns can be bought with various adjustments for different 
curves, etc. Also a " universal " spokeshave can be had, with 

492 Wood- Working for Beginners 

movable handles and detachable bottoms which can be adapted 
for curved or straight work, and a width gauge by means of which 
it can be used for rabbeting. 

The spokeshave is a very useful tool and works upon the same 
general principle as the plane, but lacking the long flat sole of 
the plane is used only for irregular surfaces, which its short and 
sometimes curved face enables it to smooth with great ease. It 
also acts on the same principle as a draw-knife with the addition 
of a guiding stock. It bears somewhat the same relation to the 
draw-knife that the plane does to the chisel. 

Grasp the tool firm- 
ly, bearing downward 
with both hands and 
pressing forward with 
the thumbs, pushing 
the tool from you so 
as to cut like a plane 
(Fig. 679). Of course 
it can also be 'drawn 
towards you when the 
circumstances of the 
work render it advis- 
able. See Paring and 

FIG. 679. 
Spoon-Bit. See Bits. 

Square. This tool is one of the most useful in the list, for 
the importance of having your work " square " can hardly be 

The try-square should have a metal strip on the inside edge of 
the wooden arm, head, or beam, or the handle can be wholly 
of metal. Get a medium-sized try-square (9- or lo-inch blade is 
good) rather than a very small one, as it is much more useful; 
and a graduated scale, like a rule, on the blade is sometimes 

Tools and Operations 493 

The primary use of this tool is to test or " try " the accuracy 

of right-angled work hence the name. The one special point 
to bear in mind in using it for this purpose is to be sure that the 

494 Wood- Working for Beginners 

head or beam is pressed firmly against the edge or side to which 
it is applied, determining the accuracy of the angle by the posi- 
tion of the blade (Fig. 680). 

You will also use the try-square continually for marking straight 
lines across boards or timbers at right angles to one side or one 
edge (Fig. 681). In using it for this purpose be sure not merely 
to press the head of the square firmly against the edge of the 
board, but to keep it securely in the same position. When the 
blade is placed correctly on the given point do the marking as by 
any straight-edge. Another way is to place the point of the pen- 
cil or knife directly on the given point and slide the square along 
until it bears on the pencil or knife. Then, keeping the head of 
the square firmly against the edge, the line can be drawn along the 

FIG. 68 1. 

FIG. 682. 

The try-square sometimes is made with the end of the head or 
beam next the blade cut on a bevel. By placing this bevel 
against the edge a try-square of this construction can also be 
used as a mitre-square (Fig. 682). 

If you buy a second-hand square, or if a square has been 
wrenched, you can test its accuracy by marking a line with it 
across a surface from a straight edge, then turning the square 
over and repeating the operation; the two lines should coincide. 
But the edge from which you rule must be perfectly straight, or 
the test will be of no value. If, however, you buy new squares 

Tools and Operations 495 

made by the best makers they will be as accurate as any test you 
can apply to them. 

Beginners, particularly young beginners, are very apt to be so 
engrossed in making the line along the blade that they forget to 
keep the head in position, or let it slip, when the blade will of 
course cease to be at right angles with the edge or side (Fig. 683) 

FIG. 683. 

The framing-square, " steel- square," or large two-foot car- 
penter's square, is a very useful and important tool; not merely 
for framing and large, heavy work but also for small work, and it 
is of great value in many mechanical operations. Even an iron 
square is very useful, but a nickel-plated steel-square is the best, 
as the figures are more distinct and it is less likely to rust. The 
long arm makes a good straight-edge. See also page 181. 

Staining. When you stain wood, do it for the sake of the 
colour, preserving the beauty of the grain, and not to try to 
imitate a more expensive wood. It is better, as a rule, to use 
good wood of a handsome colour and leave it as it is to mellow 
with age than to stain or colour it, but there are times when you 
will wish to stain wood. 

The main point to bear in mind for successful staining is to 
colour the wood itself, not to put on a superficial coat of coloured 
varnish. For instance, the fumes of ammonia (or the liquid 
itself) will give oak in a very short time the same dark colour 
which the ammonia in the air will produce after years of expos- 
ure. This is a natural process merely anticipating the change 
caused by time. 

49 6 Wood-Working for Beginners 

There are a number of ways of staining dependent upon such 
chemical processes carried on in the wood itself. These ways 
are the best, as you can readily see. Having got the right colour, 
the wood can be oiled, shellaced, varnished, or waxed in the 
usual way. By this method the natural grain of the wood is not 
obscured. In fact, the figure of the grain is sometimes made 
more conspicuous. 

Another way is to wash the wood with some thin stain of the 
desired colour, after which you can finish in the usual way. 
This is a good method, for the wood itself is coloured to some 
distance below the surface, and after it is finished it will take 
considerable bruising to expose its original colour. This method 
also sometimes enhances the beauty of the grain. 

The poorest way to stain, but a very common one with amateurs 
and in cheap work, is, instead of staining the wood itself, to cover 
the surface with coloured varnish or shellac. This is often the 
cheapest and quickest way of getting a desired colour, but it is 
decidedly the poorest way. Of course, no coating of colour put 
on outside can be as durable as colour imbedded in the substance 
of the wood itself, and scarring or injury to the coating exposes 
the original colour beneath. Besides this, the grain and charac- 
ter of the wood are necessarily obscured by a coloured coating. 
Wood finished in this way almost always has a cheap, artificial 
look, and you can usually detect the fraud at a glance. There 
are many cheap " varnish stains " or coloured varnishes, but you 
will do well to avoid them, unless for the cheapest and poorest 

There are two things you will wish to do in staining. One is 
simply to darken or enrich the natural colour of the wood, so as 
to give it at once the rich, deep, mellow tone produced by age. 
This is always the best way to do when it will give the colour you 
want. But if you want to change the colour entirely to make 
pine wood red or green, or cherry black, you must use some 
chemical process that will develop a new colour in the wood, or 
must apply a regular stain. 

Tools and Operations 497 

Raw linseed oil alone, well rubbed in and allowed to stand be- 
fore applying shellac or varnish, will deepen and bring out the 
natural colouring in time as well as anything else, but it takes a 
good while. Repeated applications, each thoroughly rubbed in 
and the excess rubbed off, and after standing some days or weeks, 
given a light rubbing down with fine sandpaper, then another oil- 
ing, and so on, will in time give a surface of beautiful colour, as 
well as a soft and attractive lustre. But to carry out this process 
may take months, so that you will not be very likely to practise 
it; but you see the result sometimes on old wooden tool-handles 
and plane-stocks which have been so treated. If you do not care 
about deepening the colour greatly, one or two applications, 
allowed to stand a week or two before finishing, will often be 
sufficient and will make a great difference in the looks of your 
work, and take off that raw, fresh look peculiar to recently cut 

If your work is such that you can defer the shellacing for a 
year or so, as in the case of some pretty piece of furniture to 
remain in the house, there is no way you can develop the richness 
of the wood better than to oil it and let it stand to mellow, 
with occasional applications of oil and rubbing down. Then 
finally rub down with fine sandpaper and shellac in the usual 

To hasten the process we must apply something stronger than 
oil. If the work is of oak, shut it up in a box or tight closet, 
with a dish of strong ammonia on the floor. Do not stay in the 
box or closet yourself, as it is dangerous. A simpler way is to 
wash the work with the ammonia, more than once if necessary. 
Have the room well ventilated when you do this, and do not 
inhale more of the fumes than necessary. Wetting the wood is 
sometimes a disadvantage, however, in glued-up work, and it 
" raises the grain," which must be rubbed down with fine sand- 
paper before finishing. 

To deepen the colour of mahogany or cherry, simply wash it 
with lime-water (a simple solution of common lime in water) as 

49^ Wood-Working for Beginners 

many times as may be necessary, which is cheap and effective. 
After this process, thoroughly clean out all cracks and corners 
before sandpapering, for particles of the lime which may be de- 
posited will spoil the appearance of the work when finished. 
This process preserves the natural appearance of the wood. The 
only drawback is the necessity of getting the work so wet. Some 
days should be allowed for the water to evaporate before shellac- 
ing. To get a darker shade, apply in the same way a solution of 
bichromate of potash in water. 

Whitewood takes stains finely much better than pine. Oak 
will stain almost any colour, but the individuality of the wood 
the character of its grain and structure is so strongly marked 
that it is poor taste to attempt to stain it to imitate other woods. 
If you stain it, stain it just as you would paint it, simply for the 

A good way for indoor work, such as a piece of furniture or 
anything of the sort you may wish to colour, is to mix dry pig- 
ments with japan and then thin the mixture with turpentine, or 
turpentine alone can be used. After the work is coloured in this 
way put on a couple of coats of varnish. For outside work you 
can use oil. This is a cheap way and wears well. It applies 
only to the cheaper woods which you do not care to leave of the 
natural colour. For black inside work you can use ivory-black, 
ground in japan and thinned with turpentine. Ivory-black or 
bone-black are superior to lampblack, but the latter will do very 
well for most purposes. Dragon's blood in alcohol is used to 
give a colour similar to mahogany. Alkanet root in raw linseed 
oil will give a warm and mellow hue to mahogany or cherry. 

There is an almost endless number of recipes for staining, but 
such others as you need you can learn from some finisher or 
painter, for the limits of this book do not allow fuller treatment 
of so extensive a subject. 

Steel-Square. See Square. 

Steel-^Afool. Long, fine steel shavings done up in bundles 

Tools and Operations 499 

can be used instead of sandpaper for some purposes. There are 
various degrees of fineness. This is good for cleaning off paint 
and for smoothing curved surfaces, but should not be used until 
all work with the edge-tools is done, because of the particles of 
the metal. It can be used for " rubbing down " in finishing. 

Straight-Bent Chisel. See Chisel. 

Straight-Edge. There are no definite dimensions for a 
straight-edge. Any piece of wood that is straight and convenient 
to use can be so called; the size and the length depending on the 
work for which it is to be used, from a common ruler to a long 
board. The edge of a large carpenter's square is handy for short 
work. Clear white pine or straight-grained mahogany is good 
for straight-edges, but a straight-edge is not the easiest thing for 
a beginner to make, and you will do well to find something 
straight to use for a while until you acquire the skill to make 
one or get the carpenter to make you one, which he will do for 
a very small sum or for nothing. 

To test a straight-edge, mark a line by it, then turn the straight- 
edge over and see if it still coincides with the line, or mark 
another line and see if it coincides with the first one. Try your 
straight-edges by this test once in a while, as they are liable to 
become crooked. In 
turning the edge over, 
however, do not re- 
verse the ends, as in 
case of an undulating 

curvature the curves 

j FIG. 684. 

may agree and give 

you the impression that the edge is straight when it is not. In 
the first case shown in Fig. 684 (exaggerated) this would not hap- 
pen, but in the second case (also exaggerated) it might. See 

Strop. A piece of hard, smooth leather on which to strop 
your tools you can easily procure. It can be fastened on a piece 

500 Wood- Working for Beginners 

of wood (see page 85). Spread on it a paste of sweet oil and 
emery, lard oil and crocus powder, or some similar preparation. 
A pine board on which " air-dust " has accumulated can even 
be used. See remarks under Sharpening. 

Tacks.- Tacks are sold as one-ounce, two-ounce, and so on 
according to size. 

Do not use tacks for fastening wood to wood, but only for 
fastening leather or cloth or the like to wood. The pointed 
wedge-shape of the tack tends to split thin wood, and is not at 
all suitable to fasten two pieces of wood together, particularly in 
thin wood or near the edge. Possibly you may have seen some 
disastrous results from the attempt to tack pieces of wood 

Tape-Measure. This article (preferably of steel) is often 
useful, though not nearly as important for an amateur to buy as 
many other things. 

Tenon. See Mortising. 

Tenon-Saw. See Saw (Back-Saw"). 

Tool-Racks. See page 83. 

Toothed-Plane. See Plane. 

Truing Surfaces. To true a curved or warped surface, as 
of a board, lay it on the bench with the rounded side down and 
wedge it firmly underneath to make it as nearly level as possible. 

FIG. 685. FIG. 686. 

Then scribe a line with the compasses across each end of the 
board at the height of the lowest point of the surface (Fig. 685). 

Tools and Operations 501 

Cut a depression or kind of rabbet at each end down to this line 
(Fig. 686). Next, by the use of winding-sticks placed on each of 
these rabbets you can easily see whether they are in line (see 
Winding- sticks). Alter the rabbets if necessary to get them in 
line. Draw lines on each edge connecting the bottoms of the 
rabbets, and plane away the superfluous wood down to these lines. 
When this is done the top of the board will be true or in the same 
plane. Test it by placing the straight-edges in different positions 
on the surface and sighting as before, correcting any errors. One 
side of the board being made true in this way, the other can be 
made parallel by gauging a line all around the edge, measuring 
by the thinnest point of the board, and planing off the superflu- 
ous wood in the same manner as the first side. 

You can sometimes facilitate the process of planing off the 
superfluous wood by making cuts with the saw and removing part 
of it with the chisel, or by planing across the grain (the jack- 
plane is good for this purpose), or paring across the grain with 
the chisel, or any such method, always being careful not to cut 
quite as deep as the intended surface, so that all the marks and 
cuts can be removed by the final planing. See Plane, and also 
page 179. 

Try-Square. See Square. 

Turning-Saw. See Saw. 

Turpentine. See Finishing and Painting. 

Twist-Drill. The twist-drill is much better than the gimlet- 
bit. It makes a good hole, bores easily, is not easily dulled, can 
be used upon metal, and one kind in common use can be easily 
kept in order by simply sharpening the ends. There are various 
patterns. A little care is necessary, however, particularly in 
hard wood, as they are liable to be snapped by bending. See 

Varnish. See Finishing. 

Veining-Tool. See Carving- Tools. 

502 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Vise. See page 65. For vise for metal-work, see page 70. 

Warping, To Remove. Of course the simplest way to 
straighten a warped board is to put a weight on it, but the diffi- 
culty here is that it usually will stay straight only while the weight 
is on it, unless you leave it longer than the patience of the aver- 
age amateur lasts. To do this (or to warp a straight board 
either) with some chance of success, (i) heat one side, or (2) wet 
one side, or (3) wet one side and heat the other, or (4) wet both 




sides and expose one to the fire 
(Fig. 687). But do not be too sure 
that the result will be lasting. Some- 
times it will and sometimes not. An- 
other way is to thoroughly soak the 
board, press it into shape between 
clamps or under a weight, and leave 
it until dry; a week or more is none 
too long, and boiling water is better 
than cold. Simply laying a board 
down on a flat surface will often 
cause it to warp, because the two 
sides of the board will be unequally 
exposed to the action of the atmos- 
phere. Planing off one side only, or planing one side more than 
the other, often produces the same effect. See pages 50-53 and 

Wedges. Wedges are in constant use for lifting or separating 
heavy bodies, as doubtless you know, and the principle of the 
wedge comes in in using the axe, hatchet, chisel, knife, and the 
other edge-tools (see page 25). Besides this use of the wedge 
you will often find it valuable to tighten or clamp objects of 
various kinds, or to hold them firmly in place. 

If you wish to split objects or tear them apart, use a single 
wedge, for the increasing thickness of the wedge applied at one 
point tears or splits the wood apart. But if you merely wish to 

Tools and Operations 503 

squeeze, or press, or hold firmly, or move, without damaging the 
shape of the wood, use double wedges, that is, two wedges having 
the same inclination or taper and pointing opposite ways. You 
will see that the sides of the double wedge (that is, the outsides 
of the wedges) will be parallel no matter how hard you drive the 
separate wedges, so that the pressure will be exerted without 
injuring or jamming the surfaces against which the wedge bears 
(see Fig. 333). Short, flaring wedges do the work more quickly, 
but require harder blows to drive, and are more liable to slip. 
Long, tapering wedges work more slowly, more easily, and are 
not liable to slip. You will also use wedging to secure tenons 
and dowels (see Mortising, etc.). 

Whittling. See Knife. 

Winding-Sticks. Two straight-edges, each of equal width 
throughout, can be laid on edge, one across each end of the sur- 
face to be tested. Stand back a little and look across the top 
edge of one to the top edge of the other, and if these edges agree 
you may know at once that there is no winding where you have 
placed the straight-edges (Fig. 688). By putting them in differ- 
ent positions you can finally determine whether the whole surface 
is true or not. 




FiG.688. FIG. 689. 

It is more accurate to use winding-sticks considerably longer 
than the width of the piece to be tested, as then any warping or 
winding will be exaggerated and more easily seen (Fig. 689). If 
the upper edges of the sticks are thin, or " feather-edged," it is 
easier to tell exactly when they are in line, but this does not 
ordinarily matter, except in work requiring extreme accuracy. 

504 Wood- Working for Beginners 

To find, for example, when the legs of a table, chair, or the 
like are cut so that the article will stand evenly, turn it over with 

the legs sticking up, put 
straight-edges on the ends of 
the legs, sight across these 
(Fig. 690), and trim one or two 
legs until the edges are in line. 
See Scribing for other methods. 
Warping or winding of short 
pieces can be detected by sim- 
ply laying one straight-edge di- 

FIG. 690. 

agonally from corner to corner (Fig. 691). This will show at 
once which parts require to be planed to make the surface true. 

FIG. 691. 

Withdrawing Nails. When withdrawing nails place a block 
under the hammer-head as shown (Fig. 692), using more blocks, 
if necessary, as the nail is withdrawn. 

To draw the nails from boxes, pry up a board, together with 
the nails, a short distance perhaps y and then with a sharp, 
quick blow of the hammer pound the board back into place, not 
striking the nails but the board between them. This will usually 
leave the nail-heads projecting a little above the surface, so 
that you can draw them as shown in Fig. 692, and thus save 
splitting or defacing the boards and bending the nails, as usually 
results from smashing or wrenching boxes apart. The quick 
blow drives the board back before the motion has time to com- 
municate itself to the nails, on somewhat the same principle that 

Tools and Operations 505 

a bullet makes a round hole in a window pane without smashing 
the glass. 

FIG. 692. 

Wood-Filler. See Finishing. 

Wrench. A strong wrench is often very serviceable in wood- 
working operations. 


Collection of Specimens of Wood. Waste pieces of ail 
the common woods can easily be obtained at the wood working 
shops. Have some system about the size and shape of the 
specimens. Some kinds you may be able to get only in pieces 
of such shape as you can find among the odds and ends of the 
shops, and many rare foreign and tropical woods you can obtain 
only in quite small pieces, but even these will show the character 
of the wood and add value to the collection. Waste scraps of 
veneers of rare woods can be glued on blocks of pine. 

The specimens will be most valuable if you can get them out 
so as to show a longitudinal section along the medullary rays (or 
through the heart), a longitudinal section at right 
angles to the medullary rays (or tangential to 
the annual rings), and a cross section (Fig. 693). 
It will be an advantage also to show not only the 
heartwood but the sapwood and bark. If you 
cannot get such large pieces of even the common 
woods, a collection of small flat blocks will be 
well worth making. 

The specimens will show to best advantage if 
polished (one half of each side can be polished) 
or finished with a dull lustre, and they will be 
good objects on which to practise finishing (see Finishing in 
Part V.). 

All the information you can pick up about the strength, dur- 
ability, toughness, elasticity, and uses of the various woods will 
be sure to come in play sooner or later. The gradations of 
hardness, density, weight, toughness, elasticity, etc., are almost 


FIG. 693 

508 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Notice, therefore, the weight, colour, hardness, density, and 
characteristic odour of the specimens ; the proportion of heart 
to sapwood, and the colour of each ; the size and condition of the 
pith; the character of the grain, whether coarse or fine, close or 
open and porous; the number, arrangement, size, and colour of 
the medullary rays (when visible) ; the width and character of the 
annual rings (when visible), whether wide or narrow, with many 
or few ducts or resin canals. You will find many things to 
notice in some woods. Use a magnifying-glass if you can. 

Notice also about the bark. Hunt up all the woody stems you 
can, compare the bark of the different specimens, noting its 
colour, taste, odour, surface, thickness, and the different ways 
it cracks and is cast off; and notice how easily you can learn to 
tell the common trees by the bark alone. Sections of small stems 
or branches will often show the character of the wood well. 

Note what you can about the character and habits of the trees 
themselves ; the height, diameter, age, and the shape and 
peculiarities of the leaves. In this connection, a collection of 
leaves will also be interesting to make. You can soon learn to 
tell the common trees by their leaves. 

Notice how, in some trees, as the pines, spruces, firs, the stem 
grows right straight up to the top, forming a spire-shaped tree. 
This is called an excurrent trunk (Lat., excurrere, to run out). 
Notice how, in other trees, like the elm, oak, etc., the stem 
branches again and again until it is lost in the branches. This 
is called a deliquescent stem (Lat., deliqueseere, to melt away). 

Study the shape and arrangement of the different kinds of 
trees as shown in outline against the sky; best, perhaps, when 
the leaves are off. You can learn to tell the common trees by 
their outline. Do they look stout, firm, strong, and rugged, or 
delicate, yielding, and graceful ? To a certain extent you can 
thus form an idea of the character of the wood, as in comparing 
the pine, with its comparatively light top and slender leaves, with 
the heavy growth which the trunk of the oak has to sustain in 
wind and snow. 

Appendix 509 

Preservation of Forests. Forests are of great value from 
their effect upon the climate, making it more equable. They 
tend to cause abundant and needed rainfall and to preserve the 
moisture when fallen, releasing it to the rivers gradually, and 
thus preventing abnormal freshets and extreme droughts. By 
absorbing and parting with heat slowly they cause the changes of 
temperature to be less sudden than in the open country. They 
temper the heat, and they serve as a protection, or " wind- 
break," to adjacent land. Trees, with other vegetation, are 
essential to the purification of the air. All this is in addition to 
the obvious uses of supplying fuel and wood for an almost end- 
less variety of purposes, not to speak of the value of trees for 
shade and as features of the landscape. 

The reckless rate at which the forests of the United States are 
being destroyed is becoming a serious matter, not merely because 
of depriving woodworkers of the materials with which to work, 
but because of the influence of the forests upon the climate, the 
soil, etc., upon which so much of the welfare of mankind depends. 
At the present rate of destruction many generations cannot pass 
before the supply of wood will be practically exhausted. It is 
every year becoming more difficult to obtain native lumber of the 
best quality and large size. 

One of the most serious aspects of the matter, however, is in 
regard to the washing away of the soil, which owes not merely its 
origin but its preservation to the forest and other vegetable 
growths. Professor Shaler tells us that "it is in this action of 
the rain upon the bared surface of the ground that we find the 
principal danger which menaces man in his use of the earth." 

The individual woodworker may not have control of any 
forest or wood-lot, but he can at least use his influence indirectly, 
when opportunity offers, toward needed legislation to restrict, 
or at least regulate, the improvident waste now going on, and 
he can in many cases take advantage of Arbor Day to plant at 
least one tree toward preserving the balance required by 

510 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Common Woods and Some of their Characteristics. 

There are many things to be considered by the beginner when 
choosing his wood. Many of these points have been treated in 
Chapter III. (to which the reader is referred), but a few addi- 
tional remarks about the various kinds may be of use. 

One important thing, however, to be borne in mind before 
beginning, is to select straight-grained, plain, rather soft, and 
easily worked stock. With this and with sharp tools you will 
have every chance of success, while with hard, crooked-grained 
wood and with dull tools you will be well started on the road to 
discouragement and failure. 

It may be remarked, incidentally, that beginning with soft 
woods, such as white pine, calls for even keener-edged tools than 
can be got along with for harder woods, like oak. This, how- 
ever 3 though it may seem a disadvantage, is really a good thing, 
for it compels one to keep his tools sharp. You will soon find 
that it is impossible to do even passable work in the softer woods 
without sharp tools, while with harder wood you may succeed 
by brute force in mauling the work into tolerable shape without 
being sufficiently impressed by the fact that your tools are dull 
and require sharpening. 

Besides the familiar fact that the heartwood is usually better 
than the sapwood, 1 it may be useful to remember that, as a rule, 
the wood from a young tree is tougher than that from an old one; 
the best, hardest, and strongest in the young tree usually being 
nearest the heart, while in an old tree the heart, having begun to 
deteriorate, is softer and not as good as the more recently formed 
growths nearer the sapwood. If the tree is in its prime the wood 
is more uniformly hard throughout. The sapwood, as a rule, is 
tougher than the heartwood, though usually inferior in other re- 
spects; and timber light in weight is sometimes tougher than 
heavy wood, though the latter is often stronger and more durable 
and preferable for some purposes. The application of these 

1 In elm, ash, and hickory the sapwood is sometimes considered better than 
the heart. 

Appendix 511 

statements varies much according to the kind of wood and differ- 
ent circumstances, for the growth and structure of trees is a very 
complex matter, and the diversities almost infinite. 

It may be well to bear in mind, considering the great variety 
of purposes for which the amateur uses wood, the distinction be- 
tween the elasticity needed for such purposes as a bow or horizon- 
tal bar, and the toughness required for the ribs of a canoe, or the 
wattles of a basket. In the former case the material must not 
merely bend without breaking, but must spring back (or nearly 
so) to its former shape when released, as with lancewood or white 
ash; while in the latter case it must bend without breaking, but 
is not required to spring back to its orginal form when released, 
as with many green sticks which can be easily bent, but have not 
much resilience. These two qualities are found combined in 
endlessly varying degrees in all woods. Elastic wood must ne- 
cessarily have toughness up to the breaking-point, but tough wood 
may have but little elasticity. 

Earliest of all trees, historically, come the pines the conifers 
and then the broad-leaved trees. The conifers, or needle-leaved 
trees, include the pines, firs, spruces, cypresses, larches, and 
cedars. As a rule they contain turpentine, have a comparatively 
straight and regular fibre and simple structure, are usually light, 
flexible, and elastic, and the wood is more easily split or torn 
apart than that from the broad-leaved trees, and is easily worked. 
The wood of the broad-leaved trees is more complex in structure 
than that of the conifers and, as a rule, harder, and for many 
purposes stronger and more durable. 

Besides the woods in general use there are many which have 
merely a local value where they grow, and a long list could be 
made of the woods which have but very limited uses, as well as 
of those which, from their scarcity, hardness, small size, or other 
peculiarities are practically out of the question for the beginner 
or the amateur, except on rare occasions. 

The following list makes no claim to completeness, but may 
be of some use to the beginner. 

512 Wood-Working for Beginners 

Apple. This wood is used for turning, such as handles, etc., 
and for other small work. It is handsome, fine-grained, and 
somewhat hard. 

Ash. This is a valuable wood, of which there are a number 
of varieties. It is used for agricultural implements, carriage- 
building, floors, interior finish, cabinet-work, etc. Ash is 
flexible, tough, and elastic. It is good to stand a quick and 
violent strain, as that put on a horizontal bar in the gymnasium, 
although in time it becomes brittle. White ash is the variety 
best suited for such purposes. It is good for oars and the like. 
Ash is of a rather coarse and usually straight-grained texture, 
and most varieties are not difficult to work. 

Basswood. The wood of the American linden, or basswood, 
is soft and light in substance, white or light brown in colour, is 
easily bent but not easily split, free from knots but prone to warp, 
and is used for cabinet-work, carriage-work, and for various 
minor articles. It can be obtained in boards of considerable 

Beech. This close-grained wood, hard, firm, strong, and 
taking a good polish, is extensively used for machine-frames, 
handles, plane-stocks, some kinds of furniture, and a variety of 
minor articles, but will not often be needed by the amateur. 
The medullary rays are noticeable. 

Birch. The birch, of which there are many species, is widely 
distributed in North America, and furnishes an important wood, 
which is used for a great variety of purposes, for furniture, 
floors, interior finish, turning, and a long list of minor articles. 
It is close-grained, and most varieties are hard and strong, but 
not difficult to work, and are susceptible of being given a smooth 
satiny surface and a fine finish. The uses of the bark of the 
canoe birch are familiar to all. This tree is good not merely for 
canoes, but its wood is used for paddles, skis, and the like. 

The black birch is especially esteemed for furniture and interior 

Appendix 513 

work. It is of a beautiful reddish- or yellowish-brown colour, and 
much of it is beautifully figured with wavy and curly grain. It 
is frequently stained in imitation of mahogany, a deception much 
assisted by the resemblance in grain, and not easily detected if 
skilfully done. 

Black Walnut. Large black-walnut trees are practically 
almost as thoroughly exterminated in America as the bisons of 
the Western prairies. The wood can be obtained, however, 
though it is not abundant in very wide boards. It is durable, 
usually straight-grained, moderately strong and hard, not difficult 
to work, holds glue well, and can be given a fine finish. It holds 
its shape well, and is an excellent wood for many purposes in 
interior finishing, cabinet-work, and for various minor articles. 
It has been very extensively used for gun-stocks. Its sombre 
colour is not always admired, but it is an excellent wood for 
amateur work. When mottled or in the form of burl it is, of 
course, harder to smooth. The English and Italian varieties of 
walnut have long been used. 

Boxwood. This wood is distinguished for its extremely com- 
pact and even grain. It is hard and heavy, is used in turning, 
wood-engraving, and the like, but is not likely to be required by 
the amateur. 

Butternut. This wood, found in North America, has a 
rather coarsely marked grain, is soft, light, of a yellowish-brown 
colour, and when finished makes a handsome wood for furniture 
and interior work. 

It is easily worked, but is not the easiest material for the 
amateur to smooth satisfactorily, because of the peculiar texture 
of the wood, which tends to " roug^ up" unless the tools are 
very keen. 

Buttonwood. See Sycamore. 

Cedar. This tree, found quite aoundantly in the United 
States, furnishes a wood which is exceedingly durable, particu- 
larly where exposed to the alternations of moisture and dryness, 


5 H Wood- Working for Beginners 

as when inserted in the ground or in situations near the ground, 
and is very valuable for fence-posts, foundation-posts for build- 
ings, railroad ties, shingles, pails, and the like. Some varieties 
of cedar are used for building purposes and interior fittings. 

The varieties of white cedar are light, of good grain and easy 
to work, soft, and not particularly strong, but durable and admir- 
ably adapted to such purposes as boat-building, for which it is 
largely used. Red cedar, which is in many respects similar to the 
other varieties, is distinguished by its colour and by its strong 
fragrance, which, being obnoxious to insects, makes it excellent 
for chests and closets. It is used for pencils. 

Cherry. This is a valuable wood for the amateur. It is 
found extensively in the United States. It is fine-grained, of 
moderate hardness, not difficult to work, and of a beautiful 
reddish-brown or yellowish-brown colour. It has a satin-like 
surface when smoothed, and can be given a beautiful finish. The 
black cherry is especially esteemed. It can be obtained, so far as 
it has not been exterminated, in quite wide boards. Cherry 
mellows and grows richer in colour with age. The varieties 
having a wavy texture are especially beautiful. It is much used 
for cabinet-work, interior finish, and for many purposes. The 
beginner should select only the softer and straight-grained 
varieties, as some of the harder and denser kinds are exceedingly 
hard to smooth. 

Chestnut. The value of this wood to the amateur lies chiefly 
in its durability. It lasts well in or near the ground or exposed 
to the weather. It can be used for framing, for posts for a fence 
or to support a building, and for similar purposes. It is soft, 
coarse-grained, not very strong, but is not difficult to work. 

Cottonwood. This is a soft, light, close-grained wood, used 
for woodenware, boxes, pulp, etc. 

Cypress. This wood is found in North America, Mexico, 
parts of Asia and Europe. It is a valuable material, yellowish 

Appendix 515 

or yellowish-brown in colour, very durable when exposed to the 
weather or in contact with the soil, light, soft, easily worked, and 
is used for general lumber purposes for which pine is used, but 
to which it is superior for withstanding exposure. It is used for 
interior finish,, doors, clapboards, shingles, cabinet-work, boat- 
building, posts, and a great variety of purposes. It takes a fine 
finish. The cypress of the Southern United States is of large 
size, and the wood is of beautiful figure and colouring. Valuable 
varieties are found upon the Pacific coast. 

Deal. See Pine and Spruce. 

Ebony. The excessive hardness of ebony renders it unsuited 
for amateur work. It is also expensive. It is very hard and 
solid, with black heartwood and white sapwood, and is used for 
furniture, turning, and small articles. 

Elm. This useful wood, strong, tough, and durable, usually 
flexible, heavy and hard, is extensively used in some of its 
varieties for boat-building, the frames of agricultural implements, 
yokes, wheel-hubs, chairs, cooperage, and many other purposes. 
Some species are very good for continued exposure to wet. The 
rock elm is a valuable variety, esteemed for flexibility and tough- 
ness as well as durability and strength. 

Fir. See Pine and Spruce. 

Hemlock. This wood, valuable for its bark, is cheap, coarse- 
grained and subject to shakes, brittle and easily split, and some- 
what soft, but not easy to work. It is unfit for nice work, but 
can be used for rough framing and rough boarding, for which its 
holding nails well renders it suitable. 

Hickory. This wood, found in the eastern parts of North 
America, is highly esteemed for its strength and great elasticity. 
It is hard, tough, heavy, and close-grained. It is largely used 
for carriage-work, agricultural implements, hoops, axe-helves, 
and the like. It is hard to work. The shagbark is especially 
valued for timber. 

516 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Holly. This wood is quite hard, close-grained, and very 
white, though it does not retain the purity of its colour. It is 
used for small articles of cabinet-work and for turning. 

Lancewood. The use of this wood for bows, fishing-rods, 
and such purposes has been extensive. It is distinguished for its 

Lignum Vitae. The extreme hardness, solidity, and dur- 
ability of lignum vitse make it of great value for pulley-sheaves, 
balls for bowling, mallets, small handles, and turned objects. It 
is too excessively hard for the beginner to use. 

Locust. The woo'd of the locust of North America is hard, 
strong, heavy, exceedingly durable, and of yellowish or brownish 
colour. It is a valuable wood, and is used extensively for posts 
for fences and for the support of buildings, for shipbuilding, and 
for other work to be subjected to exposure or to contact with the 
ground. It is used in turning, but not extensively for interior 

Mahogany. This highly valuable wood, which did not come 
into general use until the eighteenth century, is found in the 
West Indies, Mexico, Central America, and some other regions. 
It is very durable. The colour is found in a great variety of 
shades from golden-brown to deep reddish-brown. Some varieties 
are light and quite soft, even spongy, while others (the best) are 
very hard and heavy, close-grained, and strong. In some kinds 
the grain is quite straight, in others curved and twisted into an 
endless variety of crooked shapes, the latter being the most 
beautiful for ornamental work, but more liable to change of 
shape than the straight-grained varieties. 

The straight-grained varieties change their shape but little, 
less than most woods, and are therefore excellently suited for 
the framework or structural parts of cabinet-work, for pattern- 
making, and the like. The so-called baywood holds its shape 
well and is easily worked, but is not especially beautiful. The 
better grades of mahogany grow darker and richer in colour with 

Appendix 517 

age, but some varieties become bleached and lustreless with 

It is of the greatest value for interior finishing, for furniture, 
and for cabinet-work generally, and is also used for many other 

The term mahogany is used in commerce in a rather compre- 
hensive way. Mahogany from San Domingo has long been highly 
esteemed, but is now difficult or impossible to obtain. The 
light-coloured variety known as white mahogany is much valued 
for its beauty. 

Mahogany is excellent for holding glue. It can be obtained in 
wide pieces, thus often saving the necessity of gluing. It can be 
given a beautiful dull finish or a high polish, as may be desired. 

The beginner should only attempt the plain, softer, straight- 
grained kinds of mahogany at first. The other varieties require 
much skill to smooth and, in case of the harder pieces, even to 
work at all; and these, however beautiful they may be, should be 
deferred until considerable proficiency has been attained. 

Maple. The maple grows freely in the United States, and is 
much used for a great variety of purposes, the sugar or rock maple 
being especially esteemed. It is close-grained, hard, strong, 
heavy, and of a light yellowish-, reddish-, or brownish-white 
colour (sometimes almost white, though found in varying shades), 
and can be smoothed to a satin-like surface and be given a good 
finish. It can be stained satisfactorily. The curly or wavy 
varieties furnish wood of much beauty, the peculiar contortion 
of the grain known as " bird's-eye " being much admired. Maple 
is extensively used for cabinet-work and interior finishing, floors, 
machine-frames, work-benches, turning, and a great variety of 
miscellaneous articles. 

There are a number of varieties of the maple. The beginner 
should confine himself at first to the softer and straight-grained 
specimens, as the other kinds are hard to work and to smooth. 

Oak. Of all the broad-leaved trees the oak is probably the 

518 Wood- Working for Beginners 

most valuable, and has for ages stood as a type of strength. It 
is widely scattered in various parts of the world, and nearly three 
hundred varieties have been noted. 

Oak is distinguished for its combination of useful qualities. 
It is hard, tough, elastic, heavy, durable, stiff (except after steam- 
ing, when it readily bends), and durable when exposed to the 
weather or to the soil. Oak is more or less subject to checking. 
It is strongly impregnated with tannic acid, which tends to de- 
stroy iron fastenings. 

American white oak. This important variety is found in North 
America, and from it is obtained most excellent timber. It is 
used for a variety of purposes too great to be specified, from the 
"construction of buildings and ships to furniture and agricultural 
implements, carriages, etc. It is an invaluable wood. 

British oak has long been held in the highest regard for its 
combination of valuable qualities, and has been used for more 
purposes than can be here mentioned. 

The live oak, found in southern parts of North America, may 
be mentioned as a valuable wood, very strong, tough, and dur- 
able, which, before the introduction of iron and steel in ship- 
building, was extensively used in that business ; but it is 
excessively hard and unsuited to amateur work. 

Varieties of red oak are extensively used, but, though valuable, 
are of inferior quality to the white oak. Other varieties largely 
used in England and on the Continent are seldom marketed in 
the United States. 

Pear. The wood of the pear tree is somewhat like that of the 
apple tree. It can be readily carved. 

Pine. First and foremost among the needle-leaved trees 
comes the pine, of which about seventy species are known. The 
white pine, known in England as yellow pine and also as Wey- 
mouth pine, is widely distributed in America, and is, or has been, 
our most valuable timber tree, but seems to be doomed to rapid 
extinction, at least so far as the wide, clear boards and planks of 

Appendix 519 

old-growth timber are concerned, which are now exceedingly 
hard to obtain. 

There is no better wood for the beginner than clear white pine 
for all purposes to which it is suited. 

It is light, stiff, straight-grained and of close fibre, easily 
worked, can be easily nailed, and takes a good finish. When 
allowed to grow it has reached a large size (as in the so-called 
" pumpkin " pine), furnishing very wide, clear boards, of beautiful 
texture and with a fine, satiny surface. It is of a light yellowish- 
brown colour, growing darker with time. It is soft, resinous, 
and of moderate strength. Pine is cut into lumber of many 
forms, and is used for inside finishing of houses, for many pur- 
poses of carpentry and cabinet-making, for masts and spars, for 
clapboards, shingles, and laths, doors, sashes, blinds, patterns 
for castings, and a long list of different purposes. It holds glue 
exceedingly well and takes paint well. 

Other varieties, as the sugar pine, the Canadian red pine, the 
yellow pine, etc., grow in America. White pine is also found in 
Europe. The Scotch pine or Norway pine, known also as red, 
Scotch, or yellow fir, and as yellow deal and red deal, 1 is the com- 
mon pine of the North of Europe, hence its name, Pinus sylvestris, 
pine of the forest. It is hard, strong, not very resinous, and is 
extensively used. 

Southern or Hard Pine. This very important timber is found 
on the Southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. 
It is very hard, heavy, and resinous, with coarse and strongly 
marked grain. It is durable, strong, and not easily worked by 
the beginner, and is hard to nail after seasoning. It is exten- 
sively used for girders, floor-timbers, joists, and many kinds of 
heavy timber work, including trestles, bridges, and roofs, for 
masts and spars, for general carpentry, floors, decks, and interior 

1 The term deal, though often loosely applied to the wood of the pine and 
fir, properly refers to planks of these woods cut more than 7" wide and 6' long 
usually 3" thick and 9" wide. The term is common in Great Britain but not 
in the United States, 

520 Wood-Working for Beginners 

finish, railway cars, railway ties, and many other purposes, and, 
in addition, for the manufacture of turpentine. 

Other varieties of hard pine are sold and used successfully for 
the same purposes, all under the common name of hard pine, 
Southern pine, Georgia pine, yellow hard pine, etc. Another 
variety of hard " pitch " pine (Pinus rigida], often confused with 
the Southern pine, is heavy, resinous, and durable, but not suited 
for the better class of work. 

Plum. This is a fine-grained, hard wood, used for turning, 
engraving, etc. 

Redwood. The two varieties of the giant Sequoia of the 
Pacific coast are the Sequoia sempervirens and the Sequoia gigantea 
or Wellingtonia. The former, the most important tree of the 
Pacific coast, is of immense size (supposed to reach a height of 
even four hundred feet), red in colour, rather soft, light, and 
moderately strong, easily worked and finished, and very durable 
when exposed to the soil. It is used for general lumber pur- 
poses, carpentry, interior finish, posts, tanks, shingles, and a 
great variety of uses. 

The S. gigantea or Wellingtonia, which has the largest trunk in 
the world, is also red in colour, coarse-grained, rather weak, soft 
and light in texture, and of great durability when exposed to the 
soil. It is used for lumber and general building purposes, posts, 
shingles, etc. These are the " Big Trees," thought in some in- 
stances to be even five thousand years old, and of which the 
familiar stories are told about a stage-coach having been driven 
through a hollow tree, and about twenty-five people having 
danced at one time upon a stump. 

Rosewood. This wood, of handsome grain and colouring, 
has been much admired and extensively used for veneering. 
It is hard and heavy and of a peculiar texture, which seems 
oily to the touch. It is not well suited to amateur work, and is 

Appendix 521 

Satinwood. This handsome yellowish-brown wood is hardly 
to be considered by the amateur except for the occasional use of 
a small piece. 

Spruce. The wood of the spruce, of which there are a num- 
ber of varieties, is quite abundant, is light and straight-grained, 
and comparatively free from large knots. It is largely used for 
many of the same purposes as white pine, to which it is inferior 
for interior finish and fine work, but superior in strength, hard- 
ness, and toughness. Both white and black spruce are extens- 
ively used for carpentry, interior finish, flooring, fencing, and 
inferior woodwork generally. It has the great disadvantage of 
curling and twisting and springing badly, and is not as nice to 
work as white pine. Spruce of good quality makes good paddles, 
spars, and the like, and is valuable for such work. The wood 
of the Norway spruce is known in England as white deal. 

Sycamore. This handsome wood, found in various parts of 
the world, and of a light yellowish or reddish-brown colour, is 
esteemed for interior work. The medullary rays are noticeable. 
It is rather hard, but not very difficult to work. It is not durable 
for outside work exposed to the weather. Known also as Button- 

Walnut. See Black Walnut. 

Whitewood. Like white pine, whitewood is an excellent 
wood for the early attempts of the beginner. 

Whitewood, which is by no means white, but greenish- or 
brownish-yellow, is the name applied to the wood of the tulip 
tree. This tree attains a large size, thus furnishing wide boards, 
which are of such straight and even grain and so free from knots 
as to be of great use for many purposes. It is brittle and soft, 
but light and very easily worked. It is not, for most purposes, 
as reliable a wood as white pine, but is extensively used in the 
wood-working arts. It is more liable to warp and twist than pine. 
It takes a stain exceedingly well, 

522 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Willow. An important use of this wood is for baskets. It 
will not often be required by the beginner, except for whistles. 

Yew. This wood, like lancewood, is distinguished for its 
elasticity, and is highly esteemed for bows and the like. 

Many other woods can be alluded to, as catalpa (for posts and 
the like), elder (for various small articles), dogwood (for turning 
and the like), gum (for various common articles), hornbeam or 
ironwood (for mallets, handles, wheel-cogs, etc.), poplar (for 
pulp), sassafras (for posts, hoops, etc.), teak (from the East, 
strong and valuable), tupelo (hubs of wheels, etc.), and a great 
variety of others which cannot be specified, as they are but seldom 
required by the amateur and never needed by the beginner. 

Felling and Seasoning. A tree should usually be cut for 
timber at or near its maturity, as a young tree has too much sap- 
wood and will not be as strong and dense or durable, while an 
old one is likely to get brittle and inelastic and the centre of the 
heartwood is liable to decay, being the oldest portion. A young 
tree, though softer and not so durable, furnishes a tougher and 
more elastic wood, and sometimes has a finer grain. 

Trees differ so much, and the uses to which the wood is to be 
put are so various, that no exact ages can be set for cutting 
probably from fifty to one hundred years for good timber, to 
make a rough statement. Some trees furnish excellent timber at 
a much greater age than one hundred years. Pine is thought to 
be ripe for cutting at about seventy-five or one hundred years of 
" age, oak at from sixty to one hundred years or more, and the 
various other woods mature at different ages. 

Midwinter, or the dry season in tropical regions, is usually 
preferred for felling, because the sap is quiet. Decay sets in 
more rapidly in the sapwood and between the wood and the bark 
during the period of active growth, because of the perishable 
nature of the substances involved in the growth. Midsummer is 
considered equally good by some. 

Appendix 523 

The various methods of cutting the log into the lumber of com- 
merce have been treated in Chapter III., to which the reader is 
referred. In this connection it will be .noticed that, although 
boards cut through or near the middle are, as a rule, the best, 
when they contain the pith they are sometimes valueless in the 
centre, as well as when, in the case of an old tree, decay has be- 
gun at that point. 

As the water evaporates gradually from green wood exposed to 
the air but protected from the weather, one might infer that in 
time it would evaporate entirely, leaving the wood absolutely dry, 
just as the water will entirely disappear from a tumbler or a tea- 
kettle. This is not so, however. The drying goes on until there 
is only about ten to twenty per cent, of moisture left, but no 
amount of open-air seasoning will entirely remove this small per 
cent, of moisture, the amount varying with the temperature and 
the humidity of the atmosphere. It can be got rid of only by 
applying heat, kiln-drying, baking, currents of hot air, vacuum 
process, or some artificial method of seasoning. After having 
completely dried the wood by any of these methods, if it is again 
exposed to the atmosphere, it absorbs moisture quite rapidly 
until it has taken up perhaps fifteen per cent., more or less, of its 
own weight. So you see that, though you may by artificial means 
make wood entirely dry, it will not stay in this unnatural condi- 
tion unless in some way entirely protected from the atmosphere 
at once, but will reabsorb the moisture it has lost until it reaches 
a condition in harmony with the atmosphere. Recent investiga- 
tions show that the very fibre or substance of the wood itself im- 
bibes and holds moisture tenaciously, this being additional to the 
water popularly understood to be contained in the pores or 
cavities of the wood. 

There are various other methods besides kiln-drying (referred 
to in Chapter III.) of seasoning and of hastening the drying pro- 
cess. Wood is sometimes soaked in water before being seasoned. 
This assists in removing the soluble elements of the sap, but it is 
doubtful whether the process improves the quality of the wood, 

524 Wood- Working for Beginners 

Smoking and steaming are also resorted to. Small pieces can 
readily be smoked, which hardens the wood and adds to its 
durability, a method which has been known for centuries, but 
care must be taken not to burn, scorch, or crack the wood. 

Decay and Preservation. Timber decays fastest when 
alternately wet and dry, as in the piles of a wharf, fence-posts, 

and the like, or when subjected 
to a hot, moist, close atmosphere, 
as the sills and floor-timbers situ- 
ated over some damp and unven- 
tilated cellar. Fig. 694 shows 
the decay caused by alternate 
wetness and dryness, while the 
parts above and below are still 

Wood lasts the best when kept 
dry and well ventilated. When 
kept constantly wet it is some- 
what softened, and will not resist 
so much, but it does not decay. 
Recently, upon cutting a slab 
from the outside of a large log 
taken from the bed of a river, 

where it had lain for one hundred years or more, the interior 
proved as sound and clear as could be found in any lumber-yard. 
Undoubtedly, however, such long submersion lessens the elastic 
strength of timber after it is dried. That is not, however, an 
extreme example of durability. Wood has been taken from 
bogs and ancient lake-dwellings after being preserved for ages. 
Piles were taken from the Old London Bridge after about 650 
years of service. Piles placed in the Rhine about 2000 years ago 
have been found quite sound during the present century; and 
piles are now regularly used, as you doubtless know, for the 
support of the most massive stone buildings and piers, but only 

FIG. 694. 

Appendix 525 

where they are driven deep in the ground or below the low-water 
line. Many examples of the durability of wood kept dry are 
found in European structures. Timbers put into the roof of 
Westminster Abbey in the reign of Richard II. are still in place, 
and the roof-timbers of some of the older Italian churches remain 
in good condition. 

Thorough seasoning, protection from the sun and rain, and 
the free circulation of air are the essentials to the preservation of 

Many preparations and chemical processes have been tried for 
the preservation of wood. 

Creosote is one of the best preservatives known. Insects and 
fungi are repelled by its odour. The modern so-called " creosote 
stains " are excellent, not very expensive, and easily applied. 
They are only suitable for outside work, however, on account of 
the odour. 

Coal-tar and wood-tar or pitch, applied hot in thin coats, are 
also good and cheap preservatives for exposed woodwork. 

Charring the ends of fence-posts by holding them for a short 
time over a fire and forming a protecting coating of charcoal is 
another method which has been extensively used. 

Oil paint will protect wood from moisture from without, and is 
the method most commonly in use. 

In the case of any external coating, however, which interferes 
with the process of evaporation, as tar or paint, the wood must 
be thoroughly dry when it is applied, or the moisture within will 
be unable to escape, and will cause decay. 

Lumber as well as the living tree has enemies in the form of 
insects and worms, but the conditions best for the preservation 
of the wood, as referred to above, are also the least favourable 
for the attacks of animal life and of fungi. 

As soon as the tree has been felled and dies, decomposition 
begins, as in all organic bodies, and sooner or later will totally 
destroy the wood. The woody fibre itself will last for ages, but 
some of the substances involved in the growth soon decay. The 

526 Wood- Working for Beginners 

sap is liable to fermentation, shown by a bluish tint, and decay 
sets in. Fungi are liable to fasten upon the wood. Worms and 
insects also attack it, preferring that which is richest in sap. 
Thus we see that the danger of decay originates chiefly in the 
decomposition of the sap (although in living trees past their 
prime decay begins in the heartwood while the sapwood is 
sound), so the more the sap can be got rid of the better. There 
are, however, some substances found in various trees, aside from 
those elements especially required for their growth, which render 
the wood more durable, like tannic acid, which abounds in oak 
and a number of trees, particularly in the bark. There is no ad- 
vantage in getting rid of the turpentine and other volatile oils 
and the resinous deposits found in needle- leaved trees, particu- 
larly in the case of those woods in which they abound. Care 
should be taken, however, not to use a piece of pine badly 
streaked or spotted with resinous deposits in a place where it will 
be exposed, as the turpentine or resinous matter will be apt to 
ooze out and blister the paint. 

Wet rot is a decay of the unseasoned wood, which may also be 
caused in seasoned wood by moisture with a temperate degree of 
warmth. It occurs in wood alternately exposed to dryness and 
moisture. Dry rot, which is due to fungi, does not attack dry 
wood, but is found where there is dampness and lack of free 
circulation of air, as in warm, damp, and unventilated situations, 
like cellars and the more confined parts of ships, and in time re- 
sults in the entire crumbling away of the wood. There are sev- 
eral forms of dry rot. One of the most common and worst of 
dry-rot fungi attacks pine and fir. Fungi also attack oak. Creo- 
sote is used as a preventive, to the extent to which it saturates 
the wood. 

Effects of Expansion and Contraction. Cracks, curling, 
warping, winding, or twisting are due to nothing but irregular 
and uneven swelling and shrinking. Some kinds of wood shrink 
much in drying, others but little. Some, after seasoning, swell 

Appendix 527 

or shrink and curl and warp to a marked degree with every change 
in temperature and dryness. Others, once thoroughly air- 
seasoned, alter much less in shape or size under ordinary circum- 

We have already seen that the heart side of a board tends to 
become convex in seasoning, owing to the shrinkage of the other 
side, and that if one part swells much more than another the 
wood becomes out of shape, warped, curled, or twisted. If 
one part shrinks much faster than another, cracks usually result 
in the quicker shrinking portion. If you stick one end of a green 
board into the hot oven of the kitchen stove, the heated end will 
crack and split before the rest of the board has fairly begun to 
dry. We have seen illustrations of this in the seasoning process, 
as shown in Chapter III. 

Exposure of one side of a seasoned piece to either dampness 
or heat will thus cause the piece to curl. The dampness swells 
the side affected or the heat shrinks it so that the convexity will 
be on the dampened side, or the concavity on the heated side, as 
the case may be. 

If lumber were of perfectly uniform texture, hung up where it 
would be entirely unconfined and free to swell or shrink in all 
directions, and equally exposed all over the surface to exactly 
the same degrees and changes of heat and cold, dryness and 
moisture, it would simply grow larger or smaller without changing 
its form or shape. There woul.d then be no curling, warping or 
winding. As a matter of fact, however, wood is not uniform 
in texture, but exceedingly varied, some pieces being extremely 
complex in structure; neither is it always free to expand and 
contract in every direction, nor equally exposed on all sides to 
the alternations of heat and cold, moisture and dryness. 

To come to the practical application of these facts, we have 
seen (in Chapter III.) that boards for nice work should be planed 
down equally, as nearly as may be, from both sides; that the 
mere dressing off of the surface by hand will sometimes cause a 
board to warp badly ; and that it is better to buy stock of as nearly 

528 Wood- Working for Beginners 

the required thickness as possible, than to plane it down or 
split it. It should also be noted that when a board is being 
sawed in two or split lengthwise with a saw it sometimes springs 
together behind the saw with so much force that the crack has to 
be wedged open in order to continue sawing (Fig. 695). Some- 
times the crack opens wider instead of closing (Fig. 696). You 
see from this that you cannot always be sure when you split a 

FIG. 695. FIG. 696. FIG. 697. 

board that the parts will retain the shape they had in the original 
board. In working up large pieces into smaller ones, unexpected 
twists and crooks will often be found in the smaller pieces which 
did not exist in the original stock. Sometimes mahogany, for in- 
stance, will act in this way very markedly. Strips sawed off from 
a board, for example, will sometimes immediately spring into 
very crooked forms, as shown in Fig. 697 (which would not be ex- 
aggerated if the pieces were drawn of greater proportionate length). 
In splitting stock flatwise, /. ., making two thinner boards out 
of a thick board or plank, a similar 
result often follows. The latent power 
set free, so to speak, by suddenly ex- 
posing the middle of a board, plank, or 
other timber to the atmosphere some- 
times causes curious developments. It FIG. 698. 
being necessary one day to split for a 
picture frame a large mahogany board, i* thick by 2' square, 

Appendix 529 

with a circular hole already sawed from the centre, the pieces 
warped and twisted as the sawing went on (Fig. 698), until, just 
as they were nearly separated, the whole thing " went off " with 
a report like a toy pistol, breaking into a dozen pieces and scat- 
tering them around the shop. 

In very crooked-grained wood you will frequently find uneven 
and undulating forms of warping and twisting that you do not 
find in straight-grained pieces, but such wood is often of the 
most beautiful figure for indoor work. Where the grain is 
crooked, cropping up to the surface as in Fig. 701, the cut-off 
ends of the fibrous structure, so to speak, are exposed in 
places to the atmosphere. These open ends, " end wood," thus 
brought to the surface are more susceptible to moisture and dry- 
ness than the sides of the bundles of fibrous tissue, which tends 
to produce unequal swelling, shrinking, and warping. 

You will see if you look at the ends of logs and stumps that the 
heart is frequently not in the centre, in some cases 
taking such a devious course throughout the stem 
as to make the grain so crooked that no method of 
sawing will remove the tendency to warp or twist, 
just shown. Such trees may show a beautiful grain. 
Even in straight trees the pith is not usually quite 
straight, and is apt to take a somewhat zigzag 
course, due to the crooked way the tree grew when 
young (Fig. 699). 

Imagine, for an exaggerated illustration, that 
you could see with X-rays the pith as crooked as FIG. 699. 
that shown in Fig. 700. Imagine that from this 
tree you could saw out the board indicated, keeping with it the 
whole pith or heart as if it were a wire rope woven in and out of the 
board, so that the appearance would be somewhat like that shown 
in Fig. 701. Bear in mind that the annual rings are layers of wood, 
so to speak, which may vary in thickness, growing around the 
heart. You will see that these layers, or rings, as they dip below 
or rise above the surface of the board, will cause the grain to form 


53 Wood-Working for Beginners 

various patterns, perhaps somewhat as shown in Fig. 701, which 
makes no claim to accurately showing the grain in this case. In 

FIG. 700. FIG. 701. 

fact, all such variations of grain in lumber are due to the surface 
of the piece being at an angle with the layers. 

In addition, the knots caused by branches, the twisting of the 
stems screw-fashion (as is seen in cedar), wounds, and other 
causes, often produce very crooked and tangled grain, and the 
wood of many broad-leaved trees is sometimes extremely com- 
plicated in texture, especially when all these irregularities occur 
in the same piece. It is the nature of some kinds of mahogany, 
from whatever cause, to have the fibres strangely interlaced or 
running in very different directions in layers which are quite 
near each other. 

The warping, twisting, and cracking is obviated in many cases 
where it is objectionable (as in the wooden frames of machines, 
the tops of benches) by building up with a number of smaller 
pieces, of which you will often see illustrations. To do this to 
the best advantage, the pieces should be selected and put together 
so that, though the grain will run in the same direction lengthways, 
the annual rings at the ends will not run together as in a whole 
beam, but will be reversed or arranged in various combinations, 
so that the tendencies of the different parts to warp or twist will 
counteract each other. Instead of a single board, which would 
naturally become warped in one large curve, a number of strips 
can be glued up with the grain of the strips arranged in alternate 


FIG. 702. 


fashion (Fig. 559), so that in place of one large curve the warp- 
ing will merely result in a slightly wavy line. 

Where but one side of a board is seen or used and where the 
full strength is not needed, warping and twisting can be largely 
prevented by lengthways saw-cuts on the back or under surface, as 
in a drawing-board, the crossways strength required being secured 
by the cleats. Doors and most forms of panelled work also illus- 
trate these matters of swelling and shrinking (see Doors and Panels}. 
Shakes. Heart-shakes are cracks radiating from the centre 
in the line of the medullary rays, widest at the pith 
and narrowing toward the outside, and supposed to 
be chiefly caused by the shrinkage of the older 
wood due to the beginning of decay while the tree 
is standing (Fig. 702). Slight heart-shakes are 
common, but if large and numerous or twisting in 
the length of the log, they injure the timber seriously 
cutting up. 

Star-shakes are also radiating cracks, but, unlike the heart- 
shakes, the cracks are widest at the outside, nar- 
rowing toward the centre (Fig. 703), and are 
often caused by the shrinkage of the outer part due 
to the outside of the tree drying faster than the 
inside, as it naturally does from being more ex- 
posed after being felled; but they are sometimes 
owing to the beginning of decay and other causes. 

Cup-shakes are cracks between some of the annual rings, 
separating the layers more or less (Fig. 704), 
sometimes reaching entirely around, separating 
the centre from the outer portion, and are sup- 
posed to be caused by the swaying of the tree in 
the wind (hence sometimes known as wind- 
shakes], or to some shock or extreme changes 
of temperature, or other causes. 

Combinations of the various shakes may be found in the 
same log. 

FIG. 703. 

FIG. 704. 

53 2 Wood-Working for Beginners 

A Few Suggestions about Working - Drawings. 

Drawing is far too extensive a subject to be even briefly treated 
in a manual on wood-working, but a few general remarks on mat- 
ters connected with working-drawings may be of help to some. 

While an ordinary picture gives a correct idea of how an object 
looks, we cannot take accurate measurements from it. When we 
need dimensions, as in practical work, we must have some draw- 
ings which will show us at once the exact shapes, sizes, and po- 
sitions of the various parts. In addition to the picture to give 
us the general idea, we have for working purposes what are called 
elevations, plans, sections, etc. 

In such a case as that of the little house shown on page 242, 
the picture (Fig. 363) shows us the appearance of the building, 
but for purposes of construction, working-drawings should also 
be made. The view of what you would see if you stood directly 
in front of this house, with only the front visible, is shown in Fig. 
364, and is called the front elevation. Stand opposite either side 
or end, and the view seen is represented in Fig. 364 as the side 
elevation. In the same manner the rear elevation is given. Next 
imagine yourself in the air directly above the house. This view 
is called the plan. 1 In this case, as the view of the interior is 
desired, the view is shown as if the roof were removed. If the 
sides or ends are not alike, as is sometimes the case, two side or 
end views may be needed. In the case illustrated, inside eleva- 
tions are also given, to show the construction. 

1 This definition of elevations and plan as being representations of what 
you would see if you stood opposite the sides or above the top of the object, is 
merely a rough explanation of the general meaning of the terms. As a matter 
of scientific accuracy the elevation is, strictly speaking, not the way the side 
would appear if you looked at it from one position, but the way it would ap- 
pear if you could look at it from directly opposite every point of it as if you 
could have an infinite number of eyes, one being opposite every point of the 
object. The elevation shows the front or side or end as it really is, not as it 
looks, either in the form of an exact copy if the object is small, or of a small 
copy made in the same proportion if the object is too large to be represented 
full size. 

Appendix 533 

Elevations, whether one or several, must always be taken at 
right angles to the plan. Although commonly, in simple work, 
confined to representations of each side or end, they can be 
taken from any point of view that may be at right angles to the 
plan. They may be taken from the corners or at any angles that 
may best show any complicated details of the object. If the 
object is quite simple, one elevation and the plan, or two eleva- 
tions without the plan, may be quite sufficient, as the elevation or 
plan omitted can in such cases be understood at once. 

Always make your drawings full-sized when the object to be 
made is not too large. You are much less likely to make mis- 
takes in taking your dimensions and measurements from a draw- 
ing the actual size of the object than where you have to take them 
from a smaller drawing, and you also can get a better idea from 
a full-sized drawing just how the object will look. It is a safe- 
guard, with a drawing which is symmetrical, to lay it out from a 
centre line, measuring to the right and left. 

If you make a drawing of which each line is one half the length 
of the same line in the real object, it is called a " half-size " 
drawing, and is said to be drawn on a scale of 6" to the foot. If 
" one fourth size," the scale is 3" to the foot. The scale is often 
expressed as an equation, viz.: 2 in. = i ft., or y=i'. 

If the drawing is not made with accuracy, it is necessary to 
put the dimensions upon it, and this is often done for convenience 
and quickness of execution in the case of drawings which are 

Details inside of an object, that is, such parts as cannot be 
seen or properly shown in the elevations or plan, are often shown 
by dotted lines, as in Fig. 597. Sometimes dotted lines are used 
in the same way to show the back of an object, to save making 
extra drawings. Too many dotted lines, however, are confusing, 
so if the parts that do not show on the surface are not quite simple 
and cannot be clearly shown by dotted lines on the plan and 
elevations, it is usual to make another kind of drawing especially 
to show such details. This is called a " section " (Lat., scctio, 

534 Wood- Working for Beginners 

from secare, to cut), and represents what would be shown if the 
object were cut apart or sawed through at the place where the 
view of the details is wanted. The surface supposed to be cut is 
usually indicated by parallel lines crossing the surface, inde- 
pendent parts, as those of different pieces, frequently being 
shown by changing the direction of the parallel lines, as in Fig. 


When both sides of an object are alike, labour and space are 
often saved by making a drawing of one side or one half only, 
from a centre line. The same way is sometimes adopted in 
making sections, and an elevation and section can sometimes be 
combined in this way in one drawing. 

As soon as you become used to plans and elevations, you can 
by combining the plan and elevations in your mind quickly im- 
agine the form of the object represented, and often, unless it is 
complicated, get fully as good a conception of it as from a 
picture, and a more accurate knowledge of its proportions and 
details, so that in many cases there is no need of having a picture 
at all in order to construct the object. It is often a conven- 
ience to have a picture, however, and frequently an assistance in 
forming a correct idea of something you have never seen. Where 
the appearance of the object is of consequence, as in the case of 
a house or bookcase, for instance, the picture is of the first con- 
sequence, for you must have a correct representation of the gen- 
eral appearance of the object before you begin to make the 
working-drawings. You will soon find that merely having an 
idea in your mind is not always sufficient from which to make 
working-drawings, although the first step in the process. You 
will often find that when the idea in your mind is put into the 
form of a picture, it does not look at all as you thought it would, 
and that if you had started at once on the working-drawings 
without first making a sketch or picture, the result would have 
been unsatisfactory and sometimes entirely impracticable. 

Even making a sketch or picture that just expresses your idea 
will not always result in the completed object being just what 

Appendix 535 

you wish. Strange though it may seem, it is a fact, practically, 
that the completed object often looks quite different from what 
the sketch leads you to expect. That result, however, is some- 
thing which cannot be helped, so you need not give it any atten- 
tion, only do not be surprised if once in a while you find that 
what you have made is not just what you thought it would be. 
First make the best design you can, then accurate working- 
drawings, then work carefully by the drawings, and if the result 
is not always exactly what you expected, you can console your- 
self with the thought that your experience is only that of archi- 
tects, designers, carpenters, and workmen in all lines, and that 
no one can foresee all the conditions by which a piece of projected 
work will be affected. 

Oblique or parallel projections are often used, from which 
measurements can be made. Such projections are not true 
representations of the objects as they appear to the eye, but they 
are often used because readily understood and easily drawn. 
They often answer every purpose from a practical point of view. 
Figs. 120 and 344 are examples. 

Another way of representing objects for practical purposes is 
that shown in Figs. 121 and 407, and known as "isometric ' pro- 
jection" or "Isometric perspective." This method is incorrect so 
far as giving an accurate picture is concerned, for the object is 
always represented as being too large in the farther parts, be- 
cause the inclined lines are drawn parallel instead of converging; 
but it is often very useful from a practical point of view, because 
by it all that is required can frequently be expressed in one 

Isometric perspective will not readily give the correct dimen- 
sions except in the lines which are vertical or which slant either 
way at an angle of 30 with the horizontal, /. e., you cannot 
take the other dimensions right off with a rule as from a plan, 
and therefore, so far as obtaining correct dimensions is concerned, 
it is practically not useful for other than rectangular objects; but 
1 Gr., equal measure. 

53 6 Wood- Working for Beginners 

FIG. 705. 

so far as merely showing the general shape or conveying the idea 
of the form it can often be advantageously used in representing 
many objects containing curved lines. Isometric projection has 
the advantage of being easy of execution, and of being so pictorial 
that it is almost always easy to see what is meant. 

A First-Class Bench. The construction of the bench 
shown on page 101 is not difficult to understand, but consider- 
able skill is required to make a 
really good one. The arrange- 
ment of the vise is shown in Fig. 
705, which is an inverted view 
(as if looking up from under- 
neath). The vise is kept par- 
allel by the stout bars of hard 
wood, parallel to the screw, 
which slide through mortises cut 
in the front of the bench-top, 

and are further guided by the cleats screwed to the under side of 
the top, where it is thinner than at the front edge. In case of 
using such a vise where the bench-top is not so thick in front, 
the thickness can easily be made sufficient by screwing a stout 
cleat on the under side where the vise comes. In this cleat can 
be cut the mortises for the slide-bars. The end- vise or " tail- 
screw " shown in Fig. 143 involves rather more work, but slides 
upon a similar principle. Perhaps the best way for the amateur 
is to make the end-vise in the same way as the main vise, adding 
the movable stop. 

There is no better way to make the front of this bench-top than 
to build it up of narrow boards on edge, planed true, and thor- 
oughly glued and bolted together. The planing and truing can 
best be done by machine, however. If well put together, such 
a bench-top will defy changes of weather and will stand a great 
deal of hard usage. The back part of the top can be thinner, 
but can very well be built up if desired. An excellent way to 

Appendix 537 

fasten the frame of such a bench together is with bolts, by which 
the parts can be drawn to a firm bearing. 

It is impossible to make such a bench too rigid. If so stiffly 
framed that it cannot change its shape, and if the top is care- 
fully trued, you will have something which will be a great help 
to good work. 


Adze, Indian, II 
Japanese, 15 
Air-chambers, 318, 319 (footnote) 

-dried stock, 164. See Seasoning. 

-drying, 36-40, 522-524 

pure, 277-279 

-tanks, 318, 319 (footnote) 
Alkanet root, 498 

Ammonia (for staining), 495, 497 
Angle - blocks. See Corner - blocks, 


Angles, determining, with bevel, 350 

Angular bit-brace, 352 

Animals, houses for, 126-140 

Annual rings, 29 

Anvil, 77, 344 

Apparatus, athletic and gymnastic. 
See Gymnastic Apparatus and Im- 
plements for Outdoor Sports. 

Apple (wood), 512 

Apron, 56 

Arbours, 291-293 

Arcs, describing circular, 364, 365 

Arkansas stone, 434 

Ash, 512 

sapwood, 42, 510 
Auger-bit, 352 
Awl, Japanese, 15 
Awls, 344, 345 
Axe, 345 

Backbone, ice-boat, 334 

Back-saw, 469 

Backs for case work, 194 

Balcony, 295, 297 

Ball and block, 219 

Balloon frame, 280 

Bar, horizontal, 166-168, 173 

Bars, parallel, 164-166 

Bassoolah, n, 12 

Basswood, 513 

Bath-house, 293, 294 
Batteau, 299-314 
Battening, 282 
Bayberry tallow, 378 
Baywood. See Mahogany. 
Beading, 198, 345, 346 

planes, 451 

Bead-scraper, 345, 346 
Beams. See Collar - beams, Floor- 
beams, etc. 
Beech, 512 
Bench, filing-, 75-77 

finishing-, 77 
-hook, 86-88 

-stop, 71-75 

-top, 62, 63, 74, 536 

-vise, 65-71, 74, 101, 536 

work-, 57-65, 101, 536, 537 
Bending wood, 40, 346-349 
Bevel, 349, 350 

Bevelling, 350, 351, 357 

edges of sides of boat, 305 
Big trees, 520 

Birch, 512, 513 

model (canoe), 325, 326 
Bird-houses. See Houses for Ani- 

Bird's-eye maple, 517 
Bit-brace, 351, 352 

angular, 352 

maker, 22 

use of, 353-356 (Boring) 

where to keep, 83 
Bits, 352, 353 

arrangement, 83 

maker, 22 
Bit-stock. See Bit-brace. 
Black birch, 512, 513 

bone-, 498 

cherry, 514 

ivory-, 498 




Black, lamp-, 498 

walnut, 513 
Blind dovetailing, 373 

nailing, 432 
Block-form, 176, 240 

-plane, 449 

Board, sprung, for pressure, 362 

measure, 47, 48 

Boarding, outside, 269 
Boards, definition of, 46 

matched-, 46, 47 

or planks, laying exposed, 353 

splitting, 527-529 
Boat-building, 298-343 

house-, 339-343 
houses, 294-297 

ice-, 332-339 

Boats, toy, hulls of, 227-237 

(windmill), 114, 115 
Bob-sled, 156-163 

Body plan, 229, 230 (footnote) 
Boiled oil, 437 (Painting) 
Bone-black, 498 
Bookcase and lounge, 211 

dwarf, 196 

low, 196 

pinned (" knock-down"), 195 

wall, or hanging, 186, 187 

with cupboard, 197 

with desk, 198-200 
Bookcases, 193-200 
Book-rack, 183, 184 

shelf, hanging, 185 

Booths, play, 241-249 
Boring, 353-35 

Japanese, 15 
Bow-gun, 154 

saw, 469, 470 

Boxes, 219, 227 
Box-making, 219-227 
Boxwood, 513 

Brace for bits. See Bit-brace. 

joint, 411 

Braced frame, 280 

Braces, corner, for house frames, 266 

Brad-awl, 344, 345 

holes made by, 430 
Brake for sleds, 160-163 
British oak, 518 
Broad-leaved trees, 511 
Bruises and cuts, 86 

Bruises in wood, to take out, 356 
Brushes, 356 

care of, 440 

Buck. See Vaulting-horse. 
"Built-up" stock, 409, 410, 530, 531 
Bull-nosed-plane, 450 
Burnisher for scraper, 487 
Butternut, 513 
Butt-joint, 408 
Button wood. See Sycamore. 
Buying lumber, suggestions about, 
36-45. See also Seasoning. 

tools, suggestions about, 15-22 

Cabinet-clamps. See Clamps. 

corner-, 190, 191 

for guns, fishing-rods, etc., 215, 

for tools and supplies, 96-101 

medicine, 191, 193 

music, 200, 201 

wall, or hanging, 186, 189, 190 

work. See Furniture. 

Cabins, 241-259 

Cages for animals, 126-140 

Calcined plaster, 403 

Calipers, 356 

Camping-houses. See House-building 

for Beginners. 
Canoe, "birch" model, 325, 326 

canvas-covered, 317-328 

flat-bottomed, 311-317 

" " (canvas-covered), 313, 


Canvas-covered canoe (flat-bottomed), 

313, 314 

canoes, 317-328 

Canvas, covering canoe with, 322, 323 

deck, 317 

painting, 323 

Cap (plane-iron), 451, 452 
Care of stock, 44 

of tools, 22, 23 
Carlins, 325, 329 
Carpentry, Japanese, 12-15 
Carving-tools, 20, 357 

makers of, 22 

Case, centreboard, 330, 331 

music, 200, 201 
Casing for doors, 269 

for doors and windows, 273 


Catalpa, 522 
Caulking, 302, 303, 330 
Cedar, 513, 514 
Centre-bit, 352 

-board, 330, 331 

-board trunk, 330, 331 

table, 206, 207 

Chain, wooden, 218, 219 
Chair, outdoor, 210 

-table, 212-214 
Chalk, 416 

-line, 416 

Chamfering, 350, 351, 357 
Charring wood, 263, 264, 525 
Checking of lumber, 31, 42, 526 
Cherry, 514 

Chestnut, 514 
Chests, 219-227 
Chimney. See Smoke-pipe. 
Chip (of plane), 453 
Chisels, 357-359 

arrangement of, 83 

makers of, 22 

sharpening. See Sharpening. 

use of, 358, 359, 421-423, 442- 

Chopping-block, 86 

wood. See Splitting Wood. 
Circles and arcs, describing, 364, 


Circular-plane, 450 
Clamping, 71,359-363 (Clamps), 395, 

Clamps, 71, 359-363, 395, 4oi- See 

also Handscrews. 
Clapboarding, 273, 274 
Clapboards, 48, 274 
Cleaner for furniture, etc., 386 
Cleating, 53, 363, 364 
Cleats. See Cleating. 

for rowlocks, 301, 302, 306 
Clinching nails, 431 
Club-house, 296, 297 
Coal-tar, 525 

Coaming, 316, 320, 325, 331 

Collar-beams, 287 

Collection of specimens of wood, 44, 

507, 508 

Colour of lumber, 40 
" Combination " articles (furniture), 

198-200, 211-214 

" Combination " planes, 451 
Compartments (pigeon-holes), 200 

water-tight, 318, 319 (footnote) 
Compasses, 364, 365. See also Scrib- 

Compass-plane. See Circular-plane. 

saw, 469, 470 

Concealed nailing. See Blind, and 

Sliver -nailing, 432 
Conifers, 511 
Coop, 129 

Cord, twisted, for pressure, 362 
Corner-blocks, 365 

book-shelves and seat, 212 

braces for house frame, 266 

chisel, 358 

posts, 265, 266 

seat and shelves, 212 

shelves or cabinets, 190, 191 

" Cottage Row," 271-276 
Cottages, simple summer, 271-290 
Cotton wood, 514 
Couch with bookcase, etc., 211 
Countersink, 365, 478 
Cracking of lumber, 31, 42, 526 
Cracks and holes, to fill, 384, 403, 

flashing, 273 
Creosote, 525 

stains, 270, 525 

Cricket, or footstool, 210 
Crooked grain, 529, 530 
Crossbow, 154 
Cross-cutting-saw, 466, 467 

-grained stock, 40, 41, 529, 530 
Cupboard. See Cabinet. 
Cup-shakes, 531 

Curling of lumber, 32-34, 409, 410, 

502, 526-531 
Curves, sawing, 180 

trimming or paring, 443 
Cut-nails, 433 

best for shingling, 270 
Cuts and bruises, 86 
Cutting the log, 3i~35 

the tree. See Felling. 
Cutting-edges, 25-28. See also 


pliers, 366 

Cutwater, 309-311 
Cypress, 514, 515 



Daggers, wooden, 106, 107 

Deal, 519, 521 

Decay and preservation, 41, 524-526 

Deck, 329 

canvas, 317 

for toy boats, 236 

timbers, 325, 329 
Deliquescent stem, 508 
Designing, 175-177, 239-241, 276, 

534, 535 
Desk and bookcase, 198-200 

-rack, 184, 185 
Dimension stock, 45 
Dividers. See Compasses. 
Dog-fish skin, 381 
Dog-houses, 133-136 
Dogwood, 522 

Dolls' house, 121-125 
Door, 247 

and window frames, space for, 266 
casings, 269, 272 

Doors and panels, 366-372 

and windows, sizes of, 276 

sliding, 132, 133 
Double-bladed paddle, 328 

-ironed planes, 451 

-runner, 156-163 
Dovetailing, 372, 373 
Dowelling, 374-376 
Dowel-plate, 376 
Dowels, 374 
Dragon's blood, 498 
Drainage, 278, 279 
Drawboring, 426 

Drawer, or lap, dovetailing, 373 
Drawers, 101, 376-378 
Drawing nails, 504, 505 
Drawings, working, 49, 50, 532-536 
Draw-knife or draw-shave, 378, 379 

use of, 442-444 
Draw-stroke, 26-28, 351, 378, 379, 

443, 444, 456 
Drill, primitive, 10 

-stock, 379 
Drills, 379 

Driving nails. See Nailing. 
Dry rot, 526 

situation, 277 
Dryer, 438 (Painting) 

Drying lumber, methods of, 36-40, 
523, 524 

Duck's-bill-bit, 353 
Dwari bookcase, 196 

Ebony, 48, 515 

Edges, cutting, 25-28. See also 

Elasticity, 40, 511 
loss of, 37, 524 
Elder, 522 
Elevations, 532-534 
Elm, 515 

sapwood, 42, 510 
End-grain, 529 

planing, 457 

Essentials to successful work, 102 
Estimating, 54, 55 
Excurrent trunk, 508 
Expansion and contraction, 30-33, 
50-53, 225, 526-531 

bit, 352 

Face (of plane), 445 

(of stock), 54 

Facing edges of case work, 198 

Farm school, 271 

Felling and seasoning, 522-524. See 

also Seasoning. 

Figured stock. See Grain of Wood. 
File-card, 381 
Files, 379-381 

maker of, 22 
Filing, 379-381 
-bench, 75-77 

saw-, 485-487 (Sharpening) 
Filler, wood, 385 (Finishing) 
Finishing, 182, 183, 381-386 
-bench, 77 

Fin-keel type, 229-236 
Fir. See Pine and Spruce. 
Firmer-chisel, 357, 359 
Fishing-lodges. See House-building 

for Beginners. 
Fish-plates, 411 
Flashing, 257, 258, 272, 273 
Flatboat, 299-308 
Flat-bottomed boats, 299-317 
Floor-beams, 254, 255, 266, 267, 287, 

288, 296 
Flooring for canoe, 323 

rift-, 36 



Floors, 254, 255, 266-268, 287, 288, 


Flower-pot stands, 201, 202, 207 
Footstool or cricket, 210 
Fore-plane, 447, 448 
Forests, preservation of, 509 
Forms for bending. See Moulds. 
Foundation, 259, 260, 262-264, 279 
Frame for buildings, 249, 250, 254, 
265-269, 272, 279, 280, 286, 287, 
296. See also Houses for Animals. 

balloon, 280 

braced and mortised, 280 

for boat. See Moulds and Boat- 
building for Beginners. 

Frames, door and window, sizes of, 
276 ; spaces for, 266 

picture-, 216, 217 
Framing-chisels, 358 

Framing (doors and panels). See 
Doors and Panels. 

(house). See Frame for Buildings. 
square, 495 

French polishing, 385, 386 

Frogs, turtles, lizards, etc., tank for, 

139, UO 

Front elevation, 532 

Fungi, 41, 43, and Decay and Pre- 
servation, 524-526 

Furniture, 175-217 

repairing, 460-462 

Gain, 288 (Fig. 399) 
Gauge, 386-390 

for bevels and chamfers, 351 

makers, 22 
Gauging. See Gauge. 
Georgia pine, 520 
Giant swing, 172, 173 
Gimlet, 390 

-bit, 353 

Glass for scraper, 473, 474 

setting, 391 
Glazing, 391 
Glue. See Gluing. 
Glued-joints, 360 (footnote), 392, 393 

(footnote). See also Gluing, Clamps, 
Handscrews, and Repairing Furni- 

clamping, 359-363 

rubbing, 365 (Corner-blocks) 

Glue-pot, 396 

Gluing, 391-396. See also Clamps, 
Handscrews, and Repairing Furni- 

old work. See Repairing Furni- 

Glycerine, 434 
Gouge, 396-398 

-bit, 353 

Gouges, arrangement of, 83 

makers of, 22 

Grain of wood, 30, 33-36, 40 

crooked or cross-grained, 35, 36, 
40, 529, 530 

Grinding. See Sharpening. 
Grindstone, 398 

use of, 480-482 
Grooving, 185, 187, 398 
Gum (wood), 522 
Gun-cabinet, etc., 215, 216 

Guns and pistols (wooden), 152-154 
Gunwale strip, 306, 317, 320 
Gymnastic apparatus, 163-174 

Half-breadth plan, 229, 230 
Half-round file, 380 
Halving (halved-joints), 399, 400 
Hammer, 400 

use of. See Nailing, 428-430, and 
also 504, 505 

Handles, etc., oiling, 23 
Handscrews, 400-402 

use of, 71, 400-402, 461 
Hanging bookcase, 186, 187 

book-shelf, 185 

" Happy Jack," 112-114 
Hard pine, 519, 520 

wood, 45 
Hatchet, 402 

use of, 441, 442 
Headledges, 330, 331 
Heart, crooked, 529, 530 

shakes, 531 

wood, 29, 42,43, 510 
Hemlock, 515 

Hen-houses. See Houses for Ani- 
mals and House-building for Be- 

Hickory, 515 

sapwood, 510 
Hinges, 247, 402, 403 



Hip-rafters, 284 

Hip-roof, 284-286 

Holes and cracks, to fill, 384, 403, 404 

Hollow and round planes, 451 

Holly, 516 

Horizontal bar, 166-168, 173 

Hornbeam, 522 

Horse, vaulting-, 170-172 

Horses, or trestles, 88-90 

House, bath-, 293, 294 

boats, 339-343 

building for beginners, 238-297 

designing, 239-241 

situation, 239. See also Houses. 
Housed joint, 424 and Fig. 557 
Houses, boat-, 294-297 

club-, 296, 297 

dolls', 121-125 

for animals, 126140 

play-, 241-259 

portable, 247, 248 

summer-, 291-293. See also House. 
Housing (housed joint), 424 and Fig. 

Hunting-lodges. See House-building 

for Beginners. 
Hutch, rabbit, 132, 133 

Ice-boat, small, 332-339 
Indian turning, 10, n 
Inside calipers, 356 
Iron (of plane), 445 

painting, 438 
Ironwood, 522 

Isometric projection or perspective, 

Ivory black, 498 

Jack-knife. SeeA"w/<?, 411, 412 

plane, 446, 447 

rafter, 284 

Japan, 438 (Painting) 

varnish, 438 

Japanese carpenter's vise, 13 

carpentry, 12-15 

lacquer, 383 (footnote) 

tools, 14, 15 
Jointer, 448 

Jointing, 360 (footnote), 404-408, 

491 (Shooting-board) 
Joints, 221, 222 

Joints and splices, 408-411 

for gluing, 360, 392, 393 (foot- 
note). See Glued-joints. 

housed, 424 and Fig. 557 

in exposed work, painting, 439, 

mitred. See Mitring. 

relished, 425 
Joists, definition, 47 

Keel, 316, 323, 324, 327 

built up, 237 

(skag), 307 
Keelson, 320 
Kennel, 133-136 

Kerfing. See Bending IVood, 346 

Keyhole-saw, 470 

Kiln-drying, 37-40. See Seasoning. 

King-bolt, 158 

Knees, 314 

Knife, 411, 412 

makers, 22 

putty, 459 

sharpening, 480, 484 

use of, 442-444 
Knives, wooden, 106, 107 

" Knock-down " construction, 195 

Lacquer, Japanese, 383 (footnote) 

Ladders (gymnastic), 173 

Lampblack, 498 

Lancewood, 516 

Lap or drawer dovetailing, 373 

Lard oil, 434 

Lathe, primitive Indian, 10, II 

Laths, 48 

Lattice-work, 282, 291, 292 

Laying out the work, 50-54 

Lead (of plane-iron), 452 

over door- and window -casings, 
272, 273 

red, 438 (Painting] 

white. See Painting. 
Lean-to, 241-250 

addition, 281, 282 

roof, frame for, 250 
Ledger-board, 296 
Leg-of-mutton sail, 332 
Leopard wood, 48 
Level, 96, 412 

makers, 22 



Levelling tables, horses, chairs, etc., 
479, 480, 504 

Lighthouse, 120 

Lignum-vitse, 516 

Lime-water, 497, 498 

Linden. See Bass-wood. 

Linseed oil. See Finishing, Paint- 
ing (437), and Staining. 

Lizards, frogs, turtles, etc., tank for, 

.139, HO 
Live oak, 518 

Load water-line, 230 (footnote) 
Location of house, 277-279 
Locks, 412, 413 
Locust, 516 

Log, cutting the, 31-35 
Long jointer, 448 
Lounge with bookcase, etc., 211 
Lumber, characteristics. See Chapter 

III. ( Wood), and 510-522 

charring, 263, 264, 525 

checking and cracking, 31, 42, 526 

colour of, 40 

cross-grained, 40, 41, 529, 530 

curling and warping, 32-34, 41, 
409, 502, 526-531 

definition, 45 

dressed, 45, 46 

rift, 35, 36 

sawing, 31-35. See also Expan- 
sion and Contraction. 

seasoning, 36-40, 42, 164, 177, 
178, 522-524 

selection of, 33-45 

stacking, 39 

swelling and shrinking, 30-35, 
50-53, 225, 526-531 

undressed, 45 

wany, 40 

warped, 41. See Warping, 

winding, 41. See Winding, 

M, 47 

Mahogany, 516 

cracks in, 42 
Mallet, 414 
Maple, 517 
Marking, 414-416 

awl. See Awl and Marking. 

distances. See Rule, 465 
gauge. See Gauge. 


Mason's square, 261 
Masts, 331 
Matched-boards, 46, 47 

striking, 245 
Matching-planes, 21, 47, 451 
Maxims, 102 

Measurements. See Rule, and also 
47, 48, 50, 59, 167 (footnote), 244, 261 
Measuring. See Measurements. 
Measuring-rod, 53 
Medicine-cabinet, 191, 193 
Medullary rays, 29, 30 
Middle-boards, 34, 35, 523 
Mirror-plates, 416 
Mirrors, setting, 391 
Mitre. See Mitring. 
board, 92, 93 

-box, 90-92 

dovetailing, 373 

shooting-board, 94 

-square, 349 
Mitring, 221, 417-419 
Models, 240 

Mortise and tenon. See Mortising. 
Mortise-chisels, 358 
gauge, 387 

open, 400 
Mortised frame, 280 
Mortising, 419-428 
Mouldings, 48, 197, 198 (footnote) 
Moulds (for bending), 348, 349 

(for boat), 304, 307, 309, 310, 315, 
316, 319, 320 

Mouth (of plane), 445, 452, 453 
Music-case, 200, 201 

Nailing, 428-433 
Nails, 433 

copper and galvanised, 300 

for shingling, 270 

how to keep, 85 

use of, 430-433 (Nailing) 

withdrawing, 504, 505 
Nail-set, 433, 434 
Needle-leaved trees, 511 
Nippers, 434, 445 
Norway pine, 5 J 9 

spruce, 521 
Notch-boards, 289 

Oak, 517, 18 



Oak, quartered, 34 

Oblique projections, 535 

Odd-jobs, 434 

Oil, 434 

finish, 381 

linseed. See Finishing, Paint- 
ing, and Staining. 

Oiling handles, etc., 23 
Oilstone, 434, 435 

box for, 85 

use of. See Sharpening. 
Open mortise and tenon, 400 
Operations, some every-day, 344-505 
Outdoor seat, 210 

Outside calipers, 356 

Overshot water-wheels, 117, 118 

Packing-cases, 225 
Paddles, 327, 328 
Paint. See Painting. 
Painting, 435-441 

canvas, 323 

shingles, 270 

Panels, 366-372 (Doors and Panels) 
Panel-saw, 466 
Parallel bars, 164-166 

projection, 535 
Paring, 441-444 

chisel. See Chisel 357, 358 

Parting tool. See Carving Tools. 
Patterns for bending. See Moulds. 
Pear (wood), 518 
Pencil. See Marking, 414 
Perspective, isometric, 535 
Piazza, 283, 287-289 
Picture-frames, 216, 217 
Pigeon-holes, 200 

houses. See Houses for Animals. 

Piers, 259, 260, 279 

Piles, 524 

Pincers, 445 

Pine, 518-520 

Pinning mortise and tenon, 425 

Pins for mortise and tenon, 426 

Pipe-rack, 188, 189 

Pistols and guns (wooden), 152154 

Pitch, 525 

pine, 520 

Pith, crooked, 529, 530 
Plan, 532-534 

(boat), 229, 230 

Plane, 445-458 

how to hold, 446, 447 
iron, adjusting, 453, 454 

sharpening. See Sharpening. 

wooden jack- or fore-, holding, 446 
See Planes. 

Planer-marks, 458 
Planes, Japanese, 13, 14 

makers, 22 

where to keep, 82 

wooden, oiling, 23. See Plane. 
Planing down stock, 44 

Planks, definition, 47 

laying. See Boards, laying. 

splitting. See Boards, splitting. 
Plans. See Working Drawings. 
Plant-stands, 201, 202, 207 
Plaster of Paris, 403 

Plates, 266 

Play-houses, -booths, or -stores, 241- 


" Cottage Row," 271, 276 

-village, 118-121, 271, 276 
Pliers, 445 

cutting-, 366 

Plough, 21, 451. See Plane. 

Plum (wood), 520 

Plumb, 96, 458 

Pod-bit, 353 

Pole, sprung, for pressure, 362 

for skis, 148 

Poles (for gymnastics), 173 
Polishing, 385, 386 
Poplar, 522 
Posts, corner-, 265, 266 

foundation, 262-264 

setting, 262, 263 
Potash, bichromate of, 498 
Poultry-houses. See House-building 

for Beginners and Houses for A ni- 

Preservation of wood, decay and, 524- 

of forests, 509 

Pressure, means of applying. See 

Clamps and Handscrews. 
Projections, oblique or parallel, and 

isometric, 535 

Proportions of structures, 176, 240 
Punch (for nails). See Nail-set 433, 




Punts and scows, 299-308 
Purlins, 268 
Putty, 459 

-knife, 459 

use of, 403, 439 

Quartered oak, 34, 179 
Queen-bolts, 159 
Quill-bit, 353 

Rabbet, 185, 187, 459 
-hutch, 132, 133 

-plane. See Plane 450, 451 
Rack, for books, 183, 184 

for pipes, 188, 189 

for table or desk, 184, 185 

for tools, 83, 84 
Rafters, 282 

arrangement of, 287 

hip-, 284 

jack-, 284 

laying out, 268 

Rails (of door or panel work), 370 

(of table), 204 
Rasp, 460 

Rasping. See Filing. 
Ratchet-brace, 351 
Ratchets (for shelves), 489 
Rat-tailed file, 380 

Raw oil. See Painting, 437 
Rays, medullary, 29, 30 
Reamers, 353 
Rear elevation, 532 
Red cedar, 514 

deal, 519 

fir, 519 

lead, 438 (Painting) 

oak, 518 

pine, Canadian, 519 
Redwood, 520 

Relishing (relished joint), 425 
Repairing furniture, 460-462 
Ribbands, 320 
Ribs, 314, 321, 324, 325 

bending. See Bending Wood. 
Ridge-board, 268 
Rift-flooring, 36 

stock, 35, 36 
Rings, annual, 29 

swinging (gymnastic), 173 
Ripping-saw, 468, 469 (Saw) 

Risers, 289 
Rivets, 462 
Rock elm, 515 

maple, 517 
Rod, measuring, 53 
Roof-boards, 268 

-timbers, 268 

durability of, 525 
Roofing-paper, 246, 258 
Roofs, 128, 268-270 

for house-boat, 341, 342 

hip-, 284-286 

lean-to, shed, or single-pitched, 
241, 250 

overhang of, 282 

Rope twisted for pressure, 362 
Rosewood, 520 
Rot, wet and dry, 526 
Rounding sticks, 462-465 

form for, 95, 96 
Router. See Plane, 451 
Rowboat, small, 308-311 
Rowboats, 299-317 
Rowlocks, 302, 306, 313 
Rubbing down, 384 
Rule, 465 

makers, 22 

Ruler, marking by, 415 
Runner-board, ice-boat, 334 
Runners, ice-boat, 335-338 
Running foot, 48, 244 
Runway for animals, 128, 276 
Rust, preventing, 23 
Rustic summer houses and arbours, 
292, 293 

Saddle-boards, 269 
Sail-boat, small, 311, 328-332 
Sail, leg-of-mutton, 332 

sprit-, 332 

San Domingo mahogany, 517 
Sandpaper, 465, 466 

block, 466 

Sandpapering. See Sandpape.-. 
Sanitary precautions, 277-279 
Sap, 30 

Sapwood, 29, 42, 43, 510 

Sassafras, 522 

Satinwood, 521 

Saw, 466-473 

filing, 485-487 (Sharpening) 



Saw-set, 473 
Sawing. See Saw. 

curves, 180 

joints to fit, 410 

log, ways of, 30-35 

lumber, 31-35 
Saws, Japanese, 14, 15 

makers, 22 

where to keep, 82 
Scale (for drawings), 533 

Scarfing, bevelled, or splaying, 410, 


Schedule of materials, 55 
Scoring with cuts. See Paring. 
Scotch fir, 519 

pine, 519 

Scows and punts, 299-308 
Scrap-boxes, 85 
Scraper, 473, 474 

for beading, 345, 346 

Japanese, 13, 14 

sharpening, 487, 488 (Sharpening) 

where to keep, 85 
Scraping. See Scraper. 
Scratch-awl, 345 (Awl) 
Screw-drivers, 475, 476 

for bit-brace, 476 

long and short, 476 
Screws, and their use, 476-479 

how to keep, 85 
Scriber. See Marking, 414 
Scribing. See Marking, 414-416 and 

479, 480 

Seams of boat. See Caulking. 
Seasoned stock, 164, 177, 178 

tests for, 39, 40. See Seasoning 

Seasoning lumber, 36-40, 42, 164, 

177, 178, 522-524 
Seat for corner, with shelves, 212 

outdoor, 210 

Second story, framing at, 296, 297 
Secret dovetailing, 373 

nailing. See Blind- and Sliver- 
nailing, 432 

Section, 533, 534 
See-saw, tilt or, 142-145 
Sequoia, 520 
Set (for nails), 433, 434 

(of saw), 467 
Setting glass, 391 

Setting mirrors, 391 

nails, 433, 434 

posts, 262, 263 

saws. See Sharpening. 
Settle, corner, with shelves, 212 

with table, 212-214 
Sewerage, 278, 279 
Shacks, 241-259 
Shagbark (hickory), 515 
Shakes, 531 

Sharpening tools, 16, 22, 23, 25, 480- 

Sharpie (sail-boat), 328-332 

Shave. See Draw-knife and Spoke- 

Sheathing, 46, 47, 245, 269 

for canvas canoe, 325, 326 

outside of house with paper, 273 
paper, 246 

striking, 245 
Shed-roof. See Lean-to. 
Sheer plan, 229, 230 

Shelf for books, hanging, 185 
Shellac. See Finishing. 
Shell-bit, 353 (Bits) 
Shelves, corner, 190, 191 

ends of, 195 

for pipes, etc., 188, 189 

for wall, 187-189 

movable, 489 

or pigeon-holes, 200 
Shingles, 48, 269 
Shingling, 269, 270 

hips, 285, 286 
Shooting-board, 93, 94 

use of, 490, 491 
Shrinkage, 30-35 

effects of swelling and shrinking, 
526-531. See Expansion and Con- 

Shutter, 247, 258 
Side elevation, 532 

plates, 287 

Sills, 265 

Silver-grain or rays. See Medullary 

rays and Quartered oak. 
Single-pitched roof. See Lean-to. 
Site, selection of, 277-279 
Sizing of floor-beams, 267 
Skag, 307 
Skew-chisel, 357, 358 



Skiffs, 308-314 

Skis, 145-148 

Slab-sided file, 380 

Sleds, 155-163 

Slips, 435, 484 

Sliver nailing, 432 

Sloid knife. See Knife, 411, 412 

work-bench, 57 
Smoke-pipe, 257-259 
Smoking wood, 524 

Smoothing, 179, 180, 450, 453, 457, 
458. See Plane, Scraper, Sandpaper. 
plane, 448, 449 
Snake, wooden, 108, 109 
Sofa with bookcase, etc., 211 
Soft wood, 45 
Sole (of plane), 445 
Southern pine, 519, 520 
Specimens of wood, 44, 507, 508 
Sperm oil, 434 
Splaying (splice), 410, 411 
Splices. See Joints and Splices. 
Spline, 491 

Split stock. See Rift. 
Splitting stock, 44, 527-529 

wood, 28, 491 
Spokeshave, 491, 492 

makers, 22 
Spoon-bit, 353 
Sporting-cabinet, 215, 216 
Spring-board, 170 
Sprit-sail, 332 

Spruce, 521 
Square, 492-495 

-foot, 47, 244 (note) 

makers, 22 

mitre, 349 

where to keep, 84, 85, and Frontis- 

Squaring work, 181 

with clamps, 360, 361 
Squirrel-house, 136139 
Stacking lumber, 39, 44 

result of careless, 42 
Staining, 495-498 

shingles, 270 

Stains, creosote-, 270, 525 
Stairs, 289 

(for little houses), 123 
Staking out, 260-262 

Stands, for plants, 201, 202, 207 

Stands, small, 202, 207-209 
Star-shakes, 531 
Steam-chest, 347 
Steaming wood, 347 (Bending) 
Steel square, 495 

-wool, 498, 499 
Steering (sleds), 159, 160, 163 
Stem-posts, 309, 310, 320-323 
Steps, 289 

Stern-post, 327. See Stern-posts. 
" Sticking " lumber. See Stacking. 
Stile (of door or panel work), 370 
Stilts, 141 
Stock (of plane), 445 

"built up," 409, 410, 530, 531 

care of, 44 

cross- or crooked-grained, 40, 41, 
529, 530 

planing down, 44 

splitting, 527-529 

rift or split, 35, 36. See Lumber. 
Stop, bench-, 71-75 

-chamfer, 357 

for drawers, 378 
Stove-pipe. See Smoke-pipe. 
Stores or houses, play-, 241-259 
Straight-bent chisel, 358 
Straight-edge, 86, 499 

marking by, 415 

to detect warping or winding. See 

Striking circles and arcs, 364, 365 
Stringers or strings (stairs), 289 
Strop, 85, 499, 500 
Stropping, 485 
Studding, 266, 287 

second-story, 296 
Sugar maple, 517 

pine, 519 

Summer cottages, simple, 271-290 

houses, 291-293 

Sunlight, 277, 278 

Swelling and shrinking, 30-35, 50-53, 

225, 526-531 
Swing, giant, 172, 173 
Swords, wooden, 106, 107 
Sycamore, 521 

Table, and settle, or chair, 212-214 
top, putting on, 203, 205, 206, 209 
Tables, 203-209 



Tacks, 500 

for canvas canoes, 323 
Tallow, bayberry, 378 
Tamping, 263 

Tank, water-, for frogs, etc., 139, 140 

Tannic acid, 526 

Tape, 500 

Tar, coal- and wood-, 525 

Teak, 522 

Templates, 231 

Tennis rackets, 104 

Tenon. See Mortising. 

-saw. See Saw (Back-saw). 
Tenons (in repairing), 462 
Thole-pins, 302 
Thompson's Island, 271 
Three-cornered file. See File. 
Throat (of plane), 445 

Tilt, or see-saw, 142-145 
Timber, definition, 45 

durability of. See Lumber. 
Toboggan, 148-152 
Toe-nailing, 431, 432 
Toggle-joint, application of, 267 
Tool-cabinets, 96-101 

chest, 96, 97, 223, 224 

-handles, oiling, 23 

-rack, 83, 84 
Tools, 9-28 

and supplies, arrangement, 80-86, 

cabinet for, 96101 

care of, 22, 23 

common, and their use, 344-505 

edge-, 25-28 

Japanese, 14, 15 

lists of, 18-20 

makers, 22 

primitive, 9-15 

sharpening, 16, 22, 23, 25, 480 

" universal," 18 

use of, 23-25 
Toothed-plane, 449, 450 
Toothing, 449, 450 
Totlet Town, 118-121 
Toughness, 40, 511 

Toy boats, hulls of, 227-237 

village, 118-121 
Toys, 106-125 
Trapeze, 173 

Travelling-cage, 140 
Traverse (sled), 156-163 
Traversing, 446 
Treads, 289 

Trees. See Felling and Seasoning 
and Preservation of Forests. 

big, 520 

broad-leaved, 511 

conifers or needle-leaved, 511 
Trestles, 88-90 

Triangular file, 380 
Trigger, 153 

Trimming. See Paring. 
Truing, grindstone, 398 

oil-stone, 435 

stock (surfaces), 179, 500, 501 
Trunk for centre-board, 330, 331 
Trying-plane, 447, 448 (Plane) 
Try-square. See Square (492). 
Tulip wood, 48 

Tupelo, 522 

Turning, Indian, 10, n 

-saw, 469, 470 

Turpentine. See Finishing and 
Painting, 437, 438, 498, 526 

Turtles, frogs, lizards, etc., tank for, 
139, MO 

Twist-drill, 501 

" Twister " (rope), 362 

Twisting. See Winding. 

Two-foot square, 495 

Undercutting, 195, 410 
Underpinning, 259, 260, 262-264, 


Undershot water-wheel, 116, 117 
" Universal " planes, 451 

tools, 1 8 

Varnish. See Finishing. 

Japan, 438 

-stains, 496 
Vaulting apparatus, 169 

board, 170 

horse, 170, 172 

Veining-tool. See Carving-tools. 
Village, play, "Cottage Row," 271- 


Totlet Town, 118-121 
Vise, bench-, 65-71, 536 

for metal, 75. 76 


Vise, Japanese carpenter's, 13 

parallelism of jaws, 67, 68 
V tool, 357 

Wale-strips. See Gunwale strips. 
Wall-cabinet, 186, 189, 190 

shelves, 187-189 

Walnut. See Black Walnut, 513 
Warping of lumber, 32-34, 409, 410, 

502, 526-531 

Washboard. See Coaming. 
Washita stone, 434 
Water-line, 230 (footnote) 

pure, 277-279 
table, 273 

-tank for frogs, turtles, etc., 139, 

-tight compartments, 318, 319 

wheels, 116-118 

\Vax finish, 381 

Weather-drying, 36, 40. See Season- 

Weather-vane (steamboat), 115. See 

Wedge for splitting, 28 

Wedges, 502, 503 

Wedging. See Wedges. 

tenons, 427, 428 
Wet rot, 526 

Weymouth pine. See Pine. 
Wheel, steering- (for sled), 160 
Whetstone. See Oil-stone. 
Whetting. See Sharpening. 
White ash, 512 

cedar, 514 

deal, 521 

lead. See Painting. 

mahogany, 517 

oak, 518 

pine, 518, 519 
Whitewood, 521 

Whittling, 4, 218, 219. See Knife. 

Willow, 522 

Winding, 41, 360, 526-531 

-sticks, 503, 504 
Windmills, 109-116 
Window-casings, 272 
shutter, 258 

sliding, 248 

Windows and doors, sizes of, 276 

Wind-shakes, 531 
Wing compasses, 364 
Wire-edge, 480 
Withdrawing nails, 504, 505 
Wood, 29-48 (Chapter III.), 510-522. 
See lumber. 

charring, 263, 264, 525 

checking and cracking, 31, 42, 

collection of specimens, 44, 507, 

colour of, 40 

cross-grained, 40, 41, 529, 530 

curling and warping, 32-34, 409, 
410, 502, 526-531 

durability of. See Decay and Pre- 

-filler, 385 

hard, 45 

methods of drying, 36-40, 522-524 

quality of, 33-35, S, 511, 522 

seasoning of, 36-40, 42, 164, 177, 
178, 522-524 

selection of, 33-45, 510, 511, 522 

shrinkage and swelling, 30-35, 
50-53, 225, 526-531 

soft, 45 
tar, 525 

warped, 41. See Warping. 

winding, 41. See Winding. 
Wooden chain, 218, 219 

guns and pistols, 152-154 
Woods and some of their characteris- 
tics, 510-522 

Work-bench, 57-65 

first-class, 101, 536, 537 

makeshifts, 77-80 

position and care of, 74, 75 

sloid, 57 

top, 74, 536 

Working drawings, 49, 50, 532-536 

edge or surface, 54 
Workshop, 56-101, 259-270 
Wrench, 505 

Wrought nails, 433 

Yellow deal, 519 (Pine) 

fir, 519 

pine, 519 
Yew, 522 

Zinc, 438 (Painting) 

THe Adventures 


Harry Rochester 

A Tale of the Days of 
Marlborough. and Eugene 



Author of "Kobo," " Light Brigade in Spain," etc. 
Illustrated by William Rainey, M. I. 


"A story full of thrilling adventure." Newark Advertiser. 

" Mr. Strang is a follower of Henty in writing adventurous 
historical romances for boys, and does his work with even more 
spirit and vim. This tale gives a good picture of the wars of 
Maryborough and William of Holland against the French, with a 
clever and courageous boy hero." Congregationalist and Christian 

" Three such successes as Mr. Strang has now achieved definitely 
establish his position and should fully reassure those who despond- 
ingly wondered when and where a worthy successor to Mr. Henty 
would appear." Glasgow Herald. 

" Mr. Henty's mantle may worthily be worn by Mr. Herbert 
Strang." Truth. 

"Told with a dash and vigor which mark him as Henty's natural 
successor. " Notts Guardian. 

Send for Illustrated Descriptive Circular. 

NewYorK G. P. Putnam's Sons London 


tbfStOCfC JBOt>8. Their Endeavors, Their Achievements and 
Their Times. With 29 full-page illustrations. 8, pp, viii 

+ 259 ......... $1-25 

" Told with a spirit that makes them capital reading for boys. Mr. Brooks 
writes in a clear and vivacious English, and has caught the art of throwing 
into high relief the salient point of his stories." Christian Union. 

(SirlS. Stories of Girls Who Have Influenced the 
History of Their Times. 8, illustrated, pp. viii + 225. $1.25 

" The stories are worth telling on their own account, and will serve at once 
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2>ag6 and Youthful Deeds. Stirring Stories, pre- 
senting faithful pictures of historic times. Illustrated, 
8 .......... $1.25 

" The historic episodes upon which these stories are based are well chosen, 
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trated. 8 

Told in Verse and Story. 



" Told in a manner to elicit and hold the attention of both younger and 
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imparting the facts of history." Chautauquan. 

S0110. Stories of the Sons of Great Men from 
Socrates to Napoleon. Fully illustrated, 8 . . $1.25 
Including the Sons of Socrates, Alexander, Cicero, Marcus 
Aurelius, Mahomet, Charlemagne, Alfred, William the Con- 
queror, Saladin, Dante, Tamerlane, Columbus, Luther, Shake- 
speare, Cromwell, Peter the Great, Napoleon. 

" Mr. Brooks has performed his task faithfully, and made a book which 
every thoughtful man ought to read. It is very charming." N. Y. Herald. 

TUflallS. An American Boy's Adventures in Greece. 
A Story of Digging and Discovery, Temples and Treasures. 
By E. S. Brooks and John Alden. Illustrated by George 
Foster Barnes. 8 . . . . . $1.25 

" The characters in the book are clearly drawn . . . the picturesque 
nd exciting adventures are told with vivacity." Philadelphia Press. 

New York Q. P. PUTNAM'S SONS London 

A 000 037 557 6